If you’ve been keeping up with the Hustle Hall of Fame over the last few weeks, you are aware of what’s happening. Fan voting has decided the first of two entrants for each MAC member to craft an inaugural Class of 2017 for the Hustle Hall of Fame. Up next, Bonzi Wells from the Ball State Cardinals!
Gawen DeAngelo Wells is the next inductee into the Hustle Hall of Fame. A Muncie native, “Bonzi” went to high school at Muncie Central, and then took his talents 11 minutes to the west to play basketball for the Ball State Cardinals.
He was named the MAC Freshman of the Year, while averaging 15.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.8 steals and 2.8 assists. His sophomore year he upped it to 25.4 points and 8.8 rebounds, while winning player of the year. The poor guy then had a “down” year, while only averaging 22 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 4.4 assists. While statistically similar as a senior, he won another MAC Player of the Year. That alone would garner Hustle Hall of Fame recognition.
There was a big debate on whether or not Hustle Hall of Fame should include life after the MAC. I understand both sides, but Fame is in the title, and it’s up to a fan vote. Of course life after MAC is a factor.
Bonzi did well.
He played 10 years in the NBA, with a career 12.1 points per game average. For 5 of those seasons, he averaged double digits. After the NBA, he went on to play in China and Puerto Rico. He’s now affiliated with Ice Cube’s Big 3 basketball league.
According to his wiki page, which I have no reason to doubt, he is also a humanitarian.
In 2003, Wells shed tears when his hometown Roy C. Buley Community Center named its gymnasium in his honor. It is now called the Bonzi Wells Gymnasium. As a small child at the community center watching teams get picked for a game from the sidelines "like a cheerleader," his uncle and team captain chose the young Bonzi. "I thought he was kidding," Wells recalls, "but he really picked me. And I played as hard as I can. I can remember that day like it was yesterday and that was the day that really made me want to be one of the best." Wells, who donated money to keep the gymnasium from closing its doors, said he did not expect such a reaction, that he was "doing it for the children."
Finding little nuggets like that keep me doing what I do. It’s easy to be a fan of a guy like that.
Congratulations, Mr. Wells.