In Bonner they trust

DEAN MCNULTY, TORONTO SUN

, Last Updated: 8:18 AM ET

The accolades just keep on coming for Toronto Raptors rookie forward Matt Bonner. Six months ago Bonner was a summer-league player hoping to impress Raptors brass enough to get a training camp invite.

Now, just eight days into the new year, Bonner has not only become a valuable piece of the team's off-the-bench punch and a fan favourite, he has been voted by his teammates to be their representative on the NBA Players Association.

The 6-foot-10 native of Concord, N.H., said he was surprised by his selection to speak on behalf of his teammates.

"I took it as a real honour," Bonner said. "I certainly wasn't expecting this."

But a quick perusal of Bonner's curriculum vitae should have been enough to clue him in on his selection.

The 24-year-old holds a degree in business administration from the University of Florida, with the distinction of graduating with honours.

"I guess the guys saw my background in business," Bonner said.

It is the first time in the Raptors short history that a rookie has been given such a responsibility.

And Bonner is taking his role seriously, especially in that the current agreement between players and the league expires at the end of this season.

He said that he met earlier this week with officials from the player's union to get acclimatized with what his responsibilities will be.

"I am a rookie so I'm going to have to get some answers on how active a role I'm going to play," he said.

Bonner said that with the NHL and its players currently locked in a vicious stalemate, he expects the negotiations with NBA will be tough.

"I have already studied (the current) agreement and I will be meeting with association officials again soon," he said.


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