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Kyle Smith fills another spot on Washington State roster with pledge from PG Isaac Bonton

UPDATED: Thu., May 2, 2019, 5:40 p.m.

Former Montana State guard Isaac Bonton, right, had a short stint in Bozeman before transferring to Casper College. (Eli Lucero / AP)
Former Montana State guard Isaac Bonton, right, had a short stint in Bozeman before transferring to Casper College. (Eli Lucero / AP)

PULLMAN – A third junior college transfer with prior Division I experience has committed to play for Washington State and new coach Kyle Smith.

Isaac Bonton, a point guard from Wyoming’s Casper College who played briefly at Montana State in 2017-18, pledged to the Cougars on Thursday afternoon on Twitter, giving Smith his second commit as WSU’s coach and his second in three days.

Deion James, a former Colorado State forward who wrapped up his lone season at Pima Junior College in Arizona, orally committed to WSU on Tuesday. Ex-Utah State forward Daron Henson, who most recently played at Salt Lake Community College, reaffirmed to Cougfan.com he was still planning to join the Cougars after originally signing with former coach Ernie Kent.

At 6-foot-3, 185 pounds, Bonton is a score-first point guard who averaged 21.4 points per game in his first and only season at Casper College. He started in all 31 games he played and proved to be an effective ball distributor at the junior college level, averaging 5.6 assists per game. Bonton averaged 5.3 rebounds per game as well.

As the Thunderbirds’ floor general, Bonton averaged 26 ppg at the Region IX tournament, leading Casper to its first regional title in 23 years. He had a season-high 41 points in Casper’s semifinal win over Western Nebraska and followed with a 30-point game in the T-Birds’ NJCAA Division I championship loss to Cleveland State CC.

Bonton was playing more than 18 minutes per game for Montana State two seasons ago before he elected to leave the program in December 2017. He was fairly turnover-prone in his time with the Bobcats, leading the team with 25, but he still averaged 7.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg and 1.4 apg.

Though Bonton didn’t show much shooting accuracy in Bozeman, hitting at 36 percent from the field, he improved that number in junior college and finished the 2018-19 season at Casper making 43 percent. He shot 3-pointers at a 36 percent clip at both schools.

With the guarantees from Bonton, James and Henson, Smith has filled nine spots on his first WSU roster. Those three join a group of returning players that should include CJ Elleby, Marvin Cannon, Jeff Pollard, Jervae Robinson, Jaz Kunc and Chance Moore. Elleby has entered the NBA draft and signed with an agent, but it’s expected WSU’s top returning scorer will opt to come back to Pullman for his sophomore season.

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