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Hard work produces academic honor for basketball's Bonner

By JOANNE KORTH

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 14, 2001


GAINESVILLE -- Teammates tease Florida forward Matt Bonner for thinking too much, but the Gators' resident brainiac was rewarded Tuesday for always doing his homework.

Bonner, a business administration major with a 3.96 grade point average, was named a second-team Academic All-American. Bonner was the only sophomore among 15 players named to three teams.

"Basketball is a higher priority during the season, but my grades are important," said Bonner, who graduated first in his class at Concord (N.H.) High and scored 1,350 on the SAT. "My mom is a teacher, fourth grade, and she never let me do anything until my homework was done."

Bonner averages 13.4 points and a team-best 7.7 rebounds. He leads the Gators with nine double doubles this season.

Bonner is the second UF player to be selected an Academic All-American. The other is Andy Owens, a second-team pick in 1969-70. Owens, a judge in Sarasota, recently was honored at the SEC tournament as a living legend.

To be eligible for Academic All-America honors, athletes must have at least a 3.2 cumulative GPA.

The first-team members are Duke's Shane Battier (3.43, religion); New Mexico State's Eric Channing (3.85, management communications/political science); UNC-Greensboro's Nathan Jameson (3.88, communications/political science); College of Charleston's Joseph Lumpkin (3.93, math/history); and UTEP's Brandon Wolfram (3.87, business management).

WOMEN'S TENNIS: The Gators, ranked No. 4 by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, swept No. 19 Wake Forest 7-0 Monday in Gainesville, avenging last season's 5-4 road loss that snapped UF's school-record winning streak of 114 regular-season matches.

"It was the best match we've played as a team all year," coach Andy Brandi said. "We played solid. We made our opponent work hard, and there were very few free points anywhere in singles or doubles."

DOT-COM COACHES: Men's basketball coach Billy Donovan's official Web page debuted Monday as a link from the athletic department's site.

The page, which can be accessed at www.gatorzone.com/billydonovan, includes photos, and audio and video from Donovan's playing and coaching careers. Fans can get tips on fundamentals, buy autographed merchandise and participate in scheduled chats.

A similar site for coach Steve Spurrier is scheduled to be launched at the start of football season.

TICKETS ON SALE: Tickets for the NCAA women's basketball tournament games this weekend at the O'Connell Center are on sale through the UF ticket office. Two first-round games will be played Friday and one second-round game Sunday.

Three-game packages cost $10 for students, $15 for others. Single-game tickets ($6 and $10) are not available until the ticket booth opens Sunday. Call 352-375-4683, ext. 6800, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

- Joanne Korth covers Florida athletics. She can be reached at (800) 333-7505, ext. 7306, or by e-mail at korth@sptimes.com.

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