UCLA'S ADEM BONA AMONG FINALISTS FOR DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD

Bona has been named as one of 25 finalists for an award sponsored by CollegeInsider.com

 

March 28, 2024

George Laase (FSG)

UCLA'S ADEM BONA is among the finalists for the DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD

BOSTON – UCLA sophomore forward/center Adem Bona has been listed as one of 25 finalists for the Lefty Driesell Defensive Player of the Year Award, presented annually by CollegeInsider.com.

Bona was honored as the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year earlier this month, becoming the second UCLA player in as many seasons to secure the conference's annual defensive honor. Bona averaged 12.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in all 33 games in 2023-24.

A two-year force in the Bruins' frontcourt, Bona totaled 58 blocks and 37 steals as a sophomore this season. He is the only Pac-12 player listed as one of 25 finalists for this season's Lefty Driesell Defensive Player of the Year Award.

Bona, who grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, currently ranks No. 6 on UCLA's career blocks list (115), standing just two blocks shy of the No. 5 slot on that list (Lorenzo Mata, 117 blocks). Bona tallied at least one block in 14 of the Bruins' final 16 games, recording a career-best seven blocked shots in a 68-66 win at Arizona State on Wednesday, Jan. 17.

A two-time honoree on the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team, Bona became UCLA's first player to tally at least 50 blocks in back-to-back seasons since Dan Gadzuric. A four-year standout at UCLA, Gadzuric finished with 52 blocks as a sophomore in 1999-00 and 60 blocks as a junior in 2000-01.

Bona ranked No. 2 during the 2023-24 season among all Pac-12 players in blocks per game (1.8) and No. 3 in field goal percentage (58.8 percent). He totaled five double-doubles in 2023-24 and had one as a freshman in 2022-23.

The Defensive Player of the Year Award will be announced in Phoenix, in conjunction with the upcoming NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four.

 

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