Isaac Bonton, a key cog in coach Kyle Smith’s quick rebuild at Washington State, is launching his pro career abroad.
The former standout Cougar point guard announced over Twitter on Wednesday evening that he has signed with Neptunas Klaipeda of the LKL – Lithuania’s top basketball league.
Bonton played a central role in the resurrection of WSU’s men’s hoops program over the past two years. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound native of Portland, Oregon, started 47 games in Pullman during the Cougars’ brightest stretch of play in a decade.
For unspecified reasons, Bonton decided against accepting an extra season of college eligibility, granted by the NCAA in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
He was a second-team All-Pac-12 pick as a senior last season after averaging 17.7 points per game to lead the Cougs and finish fourth in the conference.
He tacked on four assists and two steals per game, which ranked fourth in the Pac-12 and 41st in the nation, respectively.
It didn’t take long for Bonton to become a fan-favorite on the Palouse. He had a knack for generating highlights with his flashy offense and was consistently lauded by Smith for his lock-down perimeter defense.
The Casper (Wyoming) College transfer, who began his career at Montana State, capped his time at WSU with 800 points (16.3 per game), 196 assists (4.0), 186 rebounds (3.8) and 74 steals (1.51). He shot 36.3% from the field, 31.6% from 3-point range and 74.2% from the foul line.
Bonton poured in a combined 64 points last year in Cougar wins over three opponents that made deep runs at the NCAA Tournament – UCLA, Oregon State and Oregon.
Perhaps his most memorable performance in crimson and gray came late in his junior year on Jan. 18, 2020, when he tallied 34 points, eight rebounds and eight assists to pace WSU in its victory against the Beavers on Klay Thompson’s jersey retirement day.
Neptunas played its first game of the 2021-22 LKL season Sept. 18. The team competes internationally in the FIBA Champions League.
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