Pops Mensah-Bonsu: A Continued Journey
By: Clyde Verdin, Hornets.com
Many say that ones life is about the journey, not necessarily the destination. Yet, when you talk to 6-9 Hornets forward Pops Mensah-Bonsu, after three years in the NBA with three different teams, two NBA-D League teams and stints overseas, the 2006 undrafted free agent still believes his best is yet to come.
Im committed to doing whatever it takes to determine my own destiny, Mensah-Bonsu said. Im willing to do anything that is asked of me on the court, and I believe its working so far.
The George Washington University product was an Atlantic-10 first-team all-conference selection his senior year, signing a two-year contract with the Dallas Mavericks in 2006. After 12 games with the Mavs, Mensah-Bonsu was sent to the Fort Worth Flyers, where he started 23 games and was named the MVP of the D-League All-Star game.
After playing with the Flyers, the North London, England native spent a year playing with Italian club Bennetton Treviso and played two games with DKV Joventut, averaging 18.5 points for the Spanish team. His play brought him back to the States in 2009 with an eight game D-League stint with the Austin Toros that produced a double-double average in points and rebounds, earning a three game callup with the San Antonio Spurs.
Over the course of the 2009-10 season, the 27-year-old played four games for Houston, 16 games with the Raptors and finished the year in Russia playing for CSKA Moscow.
Offensively, the 235-pounder believes his quickness will be an asset on fast breaks with All-Star guard Chris Paul, but he doesnt shy away from his role in Monty Williams defense.
I honestly believe I can guard all five positions, he said. I feel like if I can create stops on defense and get rebounds, Ive done exactly what this coaching staff has asked me to do.
Between the three NBA squads, two D-League franchises and two European teams, every time Mensah-Bonsu steps on the court its an open audition.
Ive never had a long-term contract or been with a team for a significant amount of time, so when I hit the court I play like its my last game, he said. So any team that sees me play knows what they are getting from me every night.
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