Ron Bonham

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Ron Bonham
Personal information
Born (1942-05-31)May 31, 1942
Muncie, Indiana
Died April 16, 2016(2016-04-16) (aged 73)
Muncie, Indiana
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Listed weight 192 lb (87 kg)
Career information
High school Muncie Central
(Muncie, Indiana)
College Cincinnati (1961–1964)
NBA draft 1964 / Round: 2 / Pick: 16th overall
Selected by the Boston Celtics
Playing career 1964–1968
Position Forward
Number 21, 30
Career history
19641966 Boston Celtics
1967–1968 Indiana Pacers
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA and ABA statistics
Points 723 (6.1 ppg)
Rebounds 170 (1.4 rpg)
Assists 44 (0.4 apg)
Stats at

Ronald D. "Ron" Bonham (May 31, 1942 – April 16, 2016) was an American professional basketball player.

Early life[edit]

A 6'5" (1.96 m) forward, Bonham attended Muncie Central High School in Muncie, Indiana, where he earned the nickname "The Muncie Mortar" and "The Blond Bomber."[1] As a senior, he averaged 28 points per game and earned Indiana's "Mr. Basketball" award as he led his team to the state runner-up spot. He was twice named first-team All-Indiana and was named MVP of both Indiana vs. Kentucky all-star games as a senior. He graduated in 1960 as Muncie Central's all-time leading scorer with 2,023 points, which also made him the all-time scorer for the state of Indiana.[2][3]

College career[edit]

Bonham narrowed his college choices to Purdue University and the University of Cincinnati. He attended Purdue for three days, but realizing he had made the wrong choice, he returned home[2] and then decided to attend his other choice, Cincinnati, due largely to the national success gained by the Bearcats during the recent Oscar Robertson era.[4]

As a sophomore under coach Ed Jucker, Bonham averaged 14.3 points per game,[5] led the Bearcats with a .760 free throw percentage and was named All-Missouri Valley Conference (MVC).[5] The Bearcats won the MVC title and posted a 29-2 overall record. Led by Bonham, Tom Thacker, George Wilson, Tony Yates and Paul Hogue, on March 24, 1962, they won their second consecutive NCAA championship with a 71-59 win over Ohio State.[5]

As a junior in 1962-63, Bonham led the Bearcats in scoring with 21.0 points per game and in free throw percentage at .892, again earning All-MVC honors.[5] He was named a consensus first-team All-American selection.[5] The Bearcats went 26-2 and again won the MVC, but on their way to a third national championship they were defeated in the finals by Loyola University Chicago in overtime, 60-58.[5]

As a senior, he again led the Bearcats in scoring with a 24.4 average and a .819 free throw percentage and was co-team MVP with George Wilson.[5][5] For the third straight season, he earned All-MVC honors and was named second-team All-American.[5] Cincinnati ended the season 17-9.[5]

In his three-year career, he scored 1,666 points, which was second only to Oscar Robertson and still ranks seventh all-time at Cincinnati.[5]

Professional career[edit]

Bonham was selected in the second round (16th overall) in the 1964 NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics. As a rookie in 1964-65, he was a backup forward, played 10 minutes per game in 37 games and averaged 7.4 points and 2.1 rebounds per game.[6] He did, however, win a championship ring as the Celtics went 62-18 and won the NBA title with a five-game series victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.[7]

In 1965-66, his playing time decreased to eight minutes per game in 39 games as he averaged 5.2 and 0.9 rebounds per game for the 54-26 Celtics.[6][8] The Celtics, however, won the NBA title again, this time in seven games over the Lakers.[8]

His NBA career ended after those two seasons. He didn't play professionally in 1966-67, but in 1967-68 he returned to play in the American Basketball Association (ABA) for the Indiana Pacers. In 42 games, he averaged 5.8 points and 1.4 rebounds per game in what was his final season in the pros.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Bonham served as the City of Muncie assistant parks superintendent and chief caretaker of 2,300-acre Prairie Creek Park[2] in Indiana for 38 years until 2011. For 12 years during that time, he served three terms as a Delaware County, Indiana commissioner.[9] On June 30, 2012 upon his retirement, the City of Muncie declared it "Ron Bonham Day" for all he has accomplished and meant to the area.[9] He and his wife, JJ, resided on a 52-acre property that doubles as a wildlife habitat in Delaware County. As of 2013 they have been married 33 years, and they have one daughter, Nicole.[1]

In 1986, he was inducted into the University of Cincinnati Athletics Hall of Fame.[10] In 1991, he was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.[3]


External links[edit]