Tim Bond acknowledges that he wasn’t at his best heading into Nike’s third Elite Youth Basketball League session in Dallas last May. The 6-foot-5, 160-pound Nike Baltimore Elite wing had sprained his ankle about a month before, but was hoping to work his way into shape in Dallas and be close to 100 percent in Minneapolis later that month.
Even if Bond wasn’t quite 100 percent for the latter stages of the spring AAU season, at least one college program saw plenty of positives in his game. By the middle of the summer, Jacksonville had presented the City senior with his first Division I scholarship offer, which he accepted earlier this week.
“I think [Jacksonville being the first program to offer] probably was a game-changer because they recognized my talent first,” Bond said Thursday. “Them being the first to reach out to me, that meant a lot to me and made me want to work even harder.”
Bond, who averaged 13.7 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals for the Knights as a junior, said he chose the Dolphins over Abilene Christian, Drexel, James Madison, Northeastern, Quinnipiac and UMBC.
Jacksonville’s early start in Bond’s recruitment gave the coaches plenty of time to build strong relationships with the player. The Dolphins’ local ties – coach Cliff Warren is a Silver Spring native and Mount St. Mary’s grad, while assistant coach Trevor Quinn is a Severna Park native and former Goucher player – certainly helped. The distance from home was never a factor.
“The campus is real nice,” Bond said. “It’ll basically just be like a growing experience, me getting away from my family. I just look at it like I’m growing up and becoming a man.”
Nike Baltimore Elite coach Carlton "Bub" Carrington said Jacksonville’s up-tempo style of play should be an excellent fit for Bond’s game.
“Timmy is just one of those guys that plays basketball,” Carrington said. “He’s a very, very highly skilled athlete. He can dribble, he can pass, he can shoot. I don’t know what Jacksonville’s plans are on how they’re going to play him. No matter what situation the coach puts the team in, he should be able to find a spot on the floor to play. He can play the 1, the 2 or the 3. He can play all three backcourt positions.”
Whatever spot he is asked to play doesn’t matter to Bond. He’s just happy to have wrapped up his recruitment early in his senior year so he can focus on what he likes to do best.
“I just like to win,” Bond said. “Whatever I can do for my team, block shots, get assists, get other people buckets, get steals – those are always my favorite things to do. It’s not always about scoring – it’s about getting the Ws. [I want to] just bring home a championship to Jacksonville, getting a lot of wins.”