TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ Dewayne Bonner, who switched to point guard his senior season and led Tulsa to a Missouri Valley Conference championship and an NCAA tournament appearance, has died. He was 28.
Bonner, who also played on two Golden Hurricane teams that reached the NCAA regional semifinals in 1994 and 1995, died Tuesday after a long battle with cancer.
``It's really sad and unfortunate that something like this would happen to him, but I think we are all a better person for having had an opportunity to spend some time with him,'' said Kansas assistant coach and former Tulsa head coach Steve Robinson.
``I'm sad because he's physically no longer with us, but I'm also very happy that I had an opportunity to share in his lifetime and be his college coach and his friend at the same time.''
Tulsa had no point guard going into Bonner's final season, so the 6-foot-5 wing player volunteered.
``He said, `Coach, I can play point guard.' I remember it so well,'' said Robinson, adding that the team wouldn't have qualified for the tournament without Bonner's contributions. ``As the season progressed you saw him catching it and running and going and making plays.''
Bonner, a Dallas native, averaged 1.9 points and 1.4 rebounds his first three seasons. He started every game as a senior, averaging 7.9 points, 4.9 assists and 3.4 rebounds while leading the Golden Hurricane to a 22-8 record.
Kentucky coach and former Tulsa coach Tubby Smith said Bonner was one of his favorite players.
``Dewayne was always a happy-go-lucky young man,'' Smith said. ``He never complained. He just did his job everyday.''
Bonner came to Tulsa after leading South Oak Cliff High School to a Texas 4A state title. He was a member of the high school's National Honor Society.
Funeral services are scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Good Shepherd Baptist Church in Dallas. A wake is scheduled at 7 p.m. Friday at the church.