Tim Bond entered Baltimore basketball lore when he was part of a City College boys program that went 27-0 and captured the Class 3A state championship in 2014.
Bond, now a sophomore at Eastern Michigan, introduced himself to the country with a thunderous dunk in the Eagles' 89-65 loss at then-No. 3 Michigan State on Nov. 23 that earned hourly replays on ESPN's SportsCenter.
"I got a lot of cheers for it," Bond said. "A lot of people were telling me that was a nice dunk. I didn't know it was on ESPN. People were telling me and then I went and saw it for myself. So that turned out to be a good thing. That was my first time ever being on ESPN."
He will get a chance to reacquaint himself with his fans in Baltimore when he and Eastern Michigan (6-4) visit Coppin State (2-10) tonight at 7 p.m. Coppin has lost eight straight games.
Bond is expecting a big crowd at Coppin State's Physical Education Complex, and his mother said she anticipates the appearance of 40 family members and 80 friends and supporters for the Eagles vs. Eagles battle.
"This time in Baltimore, he'll have his home fans at the game," said Latria Bond, an assistant principal at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary/Middle School. "Usually, it's a lot of opposing teams and you're in gyms where everybody knows they are the opponents, so nobody is really cheering for him. Coming home to have his supporters cheer him on and his teammates and the Eastern Michigan family — although Coppin is the home team, Eastern Michigan will have a lot of supporters because Timmy is returning home."
Tim Bond and fellow guards Kamau Stokes (Kansas State) and Omari George (Bowie State) powered the Knights to the state title over Westlake, and Bond averaged 12 points, seven rebounds, six assists, six steals and three blocks that winter.
Bond was recruited by Towson, Morgan State and Coppin State, but chose Eastern Michigan for an opportunity to explore the world outside Baltimore. His freshman year in Ypsilanti, Mich., was marred by a broken pinkie finger on his right (shooting) hand that forced him to miss 13 games.
This season, Bond leads the Eagles in assists (33) and minutes played (283) while ranking sixth in scoring (7.5 points). Eastern Michigan coach Rob Murphy said Bond committed himself in the offseason to overhauling his body.
"He was a thin kid and had never really lifted a whole bunch of weights or been on a strength-and-conditioning program," said Murphy, who had recruited Donte Greene (Towson Catholic) and C.J. Fair (City) as an assistant coach at Syracuse. "At the Division I game, the physicality can bother you, especially for him when he's playing multiple positions. With him getting into the weight room for about a year now, I've seen him gain confidence. He's stronger. And having some success last year, I guess that showed and confirmed that he can be successful at the Division I level, and he has continued to improve on that."
The 6-foot-7, 160-pound Bond is listed as a small forward, but plays point guard on offense. Bond said he enjoys the role.
"Assists are something I take pride in because I'm not really a scoring-type player," he said. "I like to feed my team and make sure that everybody is happy. I try to find my shooters, keep [freshman center] James [Thompson IV] happy down low, find [junior guards] Willie [Mangum IV] and Ty [Toney]. I just try to make the game as easy as I possibly can."
Bond is still close to his former coaches like City's Daryl Wade, who traveled to Louisville to watch the Eagles' 86-53 loss to the No. 19 Cardinals on Dec. 12. Wade said Bond has developed into a more confident player.
"He has that swagger of a basketball player," Wade said. "He's not afraid to take shots. He's not afraid to challenge bigs at the basket. He's just an all-around player, and I think he still has what coaches call upside where he's still getting better every day."
Bond finds time during every trip home to visit his mother's school and read to students, and Latria Bond said she is heartened by her son's growth as a person.
"I am very proud because things could have turned out a different way," she said. "There's a lot of things happening in Baltimore. First, he's in college, and that's a wonderful start. And he's doing something positive. And he gives back because he loves kids. … I am so thrilled that I have a son who is moving in the right direction and doing the right things."
Bond, who will stay with his family until returning to Eastern Michigan on Christmas morning, said he enjoys Ypsilanti, but it's not Baltimore.
"Nothing can ever replace Baltimore," he said. "That's my roots, that's where I came from. I can't ever forget it. That's home to me, and there's no place like home."