Notre Dame freshman Bonzie Colson may start vs Miami

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) Forward Bonzie Colson may have gone from forgotten bench player to starter for No. 12 Notre Dame.

Coach Mike Brey isn’t ready to say the 6-foot-5, 226-pound freshman will start against Miami (12-4, 2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) on Saturday, but conceded he was considering it after Colson played a season-high 22 minutes, finished with a season-high 10 points and provided a spark with his rugged play in a 62-59 win over Georgia Tech on Wednesday night.

”I think my AD wants to talk to me about not playing the kid for the first half of the season,” said Brey, joking before practice Thursday.

With Zach Auguste out indefinitely because of an academic issue, freshman Martinas Geben struggled in his start against Tech. Sophomore Austin Torres played solidly as the second player in at power forward before Colson relieved him midway through the first half.

Colson started with a turnover 30 seconds in and a foul 30 seconds later. But he quickly followed that with a basket inside and an assist on the next possession. He played well enough that Brey started him in the second half, where his physical play ignited teammates after an elbow to the face during a scuffle under the basket bloodied his nose and lip.

”Our guys rallied around him,” Brey said. ”When he got bopped in the face and was bleeding and we were in that timeout, Demetrius (Jackson) and Jerian (Grant) and Pat (Connaughton) were energized that he stood up.”

Colson, whose father, Bonzie Colson Sr., helped Rhode Island advance to the NCAA tournament round of 16 in 1988, had primarily played in the final minutes of games before getting his first meaningful minutes for the Irish (16-2, 4-1) in Atlanta. But Brey had said a week ago that he had seen a marked improvement in Colson, who he said had previously ”hit a wall” as he tried to adjust to Notre Dame’s system.

Brey said the key was Colson staying positive even when he wasn’t playing.

”Even though he wasn’t playing, there was never inkling of, `Man, am I going to play?”’ Brey said.

Colson, who is from New Bedford, Massachusetts, said that’s just his nature.

”I just try to keep positive with everything I do,” he said. ”Great things take time. That’s one thing I had on my mind: My time will come. And when my time came, I just had to work hard and play hard.”

He’ll attempt to repeat that solid play, especially if Auguste, who is second on the team in scoring at 14.3 points a game, is out for a prolonged period. Brey is hopeful.

”We found another weapon here as we go through the second half of the season,” he said.