Adem Bona Could Be The Next Great International Star

(Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The world as we know it is more connected than ever. Communication across the globe is easier than ever, and add the fuel of social media to the fire and any kid in any country has the chance of being seen by a scout. Since the 1992 United States Olympic team— famously dubbed “The Dream Team”—showcased the beautiful game of hoops at the highest level for the whole world to see, an increasing percentage of the league has come from countries outside the United States. Guys like Hakeem Olajuwon, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and now Joel Embiid have helped turn the dream of being in the NBA into a reality for a whole new generation of African-born basketball players. Adem Bona from Lagos, Nigeria is hoping to be the next chapter in a line of great international hoopers. 

Adem Bona was born in Lagos, Nigeria, where he first fell in love with proper football. It wasn't hard to spot Bona on the pitch, standing at almost seven feet tall. It was then he was approached by trainer Christopher Wilson, and as Bona recalls: 

I was the team captain. One guy saw me and saw how tall I was and asked if I play basketball. I said, no I play football. He asked if I wanted to try basketball and I said I don't know

- Adem Bona

Bona would finally be convinced to play basketball but would only play one year in Nigeria when tape of him playing streetball was seen by coaches in Turkey. It didn’t take long for coaches to realize the potential of Bona. Standing at 6’9” with a 7’3” wingspan and remarkable jumping ability, Bona had all the raw intangibles to become great. Once he began rigorous training in Turkey, Bona’s game started coming together. In 2018, Bona became a Turkish citizen and represented the country at the 2019 u16 European Championship, where he put up a dazzling 14 points, 11 rebounds, and 4.3 blocks per game en route to a silver medal. 

In September of 2020, Bona felt that he had accomplished all he could in Turkey and that the next step to progress was to take his talents to the United States and enrolled at Prolific Prep in California. While he’s still adjusting to a faster-paced game in the U.S, Bona has made ample improvements to his game in his short time at Prolific Prep.

The most noticeable aspect of Adem Bona’s game has to be his prowess at the rim. Regularly punishing any attacker for testing him, Bona is always gearing up to block any shot. On the offensive end, Bona is a constant lob threat and can out jump just about anyone when the ball is soaring towards the basket. Bona still hasn’t found a consistent mid-range game, but that is expected playing as a center with relatively little experience. 

Currently sitting as the third ranked center in the class of 2022, Bona committed to UCLA last fall. In late March, Bona will participate in this year's McDonald’s All-American game, an excellent opportunity to show how far he has come in just a few short years. If Adem Bona can keep progressing at the rate he has, his NBA dreams will become a reality.

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