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Trey Bonham transitions from military life to new, normal routine with Gators

Pat O'Donnell06/15/22
Article written by:On3 imagePat O'Donnell

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On3 image
Florida transfer guard Trey Bonham. (Jordan McKendrick/UAA Photo)

Among the Gators’ newcomers, the one who saw the biggest change of scenery was point guard Trey Bonham.

After attending Virginia Military Institute for two years, Florida is a new change of pace for Bonham.

“You kind of go to your whole life being normal,” Bonham told Gators Online and others Tuesday. “I mean, coming from a military school I had a lot of restrictions, so living the free life right now. Just hooping, going to my room, it’s been great.”

VMI operates with a demerit system, so Bonham and his teammates had strict rules to follow such as curfew every night. They would be docked for “silly stuff” like not having a shirt tucked in or carrying a backpack the wrong way.

“You can’t put your backpack on your shoulders, gotta carry it. That was my biggest problem,” Bonham said. “And if you get too many, you’re marching outside with a rifle for hours. You don’t want to do that.

“It led me to learning discipline. That was the biggest thing I learned from the military school. So, I kind of try to keep the same traditions: waking up early, getting in my bed by 11:30. So same stuff, just nobody yelling in my face now.”

Bonham’s father served 20 years in the Navy, and his grandfather served four years in the Air Force. One of the main reasons he decided to attend VMI — in addition to his father’s encouragement — was because the school offered him the chance to play early.

“I had VMI, and I knew they had a reputation of when you’re a freshman, you’re gonna have a chance to play, so I took that,” Bonham said. “And so yeah, that was the only real offer I had at the beginning of my senior year, so I went ahead and took it.”

The native of Mobile, Alabama, Bonham made an impact during his freshman campaign, averaging 8.6 points for the Keydets and earning SoCon All-Freshman honors.

After averaging 13.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 4.0 assists in the 2021-22 season, the 6-foot, 170-pound guard entered his name in the transfer portal on April 4. He took an official visit to Gainesville in mid-April and announced his commitment to the Gators after returning home.

“I heard from a bunch of schools — big difference from being in high school and only hearing from a couple,” Bonham said. “Florida’s pitch was that he trusted in me, we ran a familiar offense, and the SEC. Going to high school in Mobile. Ala., that’s been my dream to play in the SEC. There wasn’t much they had to do to get me. I was already in as soon as they called.”

As a point guard who has a killer instinct to score while still being able to facilitate his teammates, Bonham fits right into Florida head coach Todd Golden’s system. His style of play also attracted Bonham to Gainesville.

“Just coach Golden’s philosophies, and him just trusting in me,” Bonham said. “Being undersized, he has complete trust in me that I can play the same as I did before. So, his trust in me, and they run the same offense that I ran before. Just that familiarity brought me here.”

Bonham is still unfamiliar with his new school and routine, but it beats the alternative.

“It’s been kind of weird at first. I’m kind of getting back used to things,” he said. “The biggest thing is I can leave and get something to eat when I want. I don’t have to march to the cafeteria anymore.”