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Ryan McNeill (CAN)
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Bonner plans to play for Canada

[by Ryan McNEILL) - During a recent trip to Toronto earlier this month, Matt Bonner talked with the media about how the combination of his grandfather - a “Newfie” as he affectionately referred to him - and his wife being from Canada has led him to feel a strong connection to this country. Bonner also recently discovered that he has some cousins who are Canadian.
Because of these factors Bonner has decided to file the necessary paperwork to gain his Canadian citizenship.

Not only that, but he’s also expressed a strong desire to play the Canadian national team.

When asked how the process was unfolding, Bonner told the media before a game in Toronto earlier this month that the paperwork had been started and he hoped to be playing for Canada by this summer.

“It’s in the process,” Bonner told Hoops Addict. “It’s something that has to get done regardless because my wife is from Toronto and we’re planning on living here. So I’m going to have to get Canadian status at some point.”

Besides his own desire to play for Canada, the current coach of the national team, Leo Rautins, is ecstatic about adding a player with the abilities of Bonner to his roster.

“I think it’s great for the program but Matt (Bonner) is the kind of guy that is great for the team because he’s a blue collar guy,” Rautins told Hoops Addict while grinning from ear-to-ear. “He’s the kind of guy who is low maintenance and he just wants to play. Even with his wife expecting he’s still said he’ll be in camp and that’s the kind of mentality you can’t put a price on that because other guys see that.”

Who can blame the coach for being so excited? When you can add a 6'10? big man who can spread the floor with his shooting it makes for the perfect addition to any coach looking to compete on the International stage.

“If you look at all the International teams there aren’t too many great post up bigs, they all are bigs who can step out and play both games,” Rautins explained to Hoops Addict. “Even with the great shooting bigs there aren’t many who can shoot like him. He’s a phenomenal shooter. Not only is he a great shooter, but he’s a smart player who knows how to play the game. The problem a lot of times is you get guys who are great shooters or great scorers but it doesn’t necessarily mix. Matt can play with anybody because he knows how to play the game and he’s also coming out of a system in San Antonio where if you don’t know how to play the game you’re gone.”

Here’s to hoping that things unfold as planned because the team needs all the help they can get after they finished 13th in the World Championships in 2006 and then failed to qualify for the Olympics during a second qualifying tournament in the summer of 2007.

If things do work out, Bonner may just be the boost the team needs to improve on their current FIBA ranking of 19th in the world.