Bayern signs Isaac Bonga from the NBA
Just over a week before the official start of training, FC Bayern Basketball has achieved a transfer win: After four years overseas and a total of 143 games in the NBA, Munich has brought international player Isaac Bonga back to Germany. The guard, who is still only 22 years old, signed a two-season contract with the EuroLeague quarterfinalists of the past two years until the summer of 2024. Last season, Bonga played for the Toronto Raptors and their farm team in the world's top league.
The all-rounder at 6ft 7 will thus make his debut in the European top flight in 2022/2023. However, Bonga will miss the 2022 European Championships after successfully participating in the Olympics with the DBB team in Tokyo 2021 due to injury and an ankle surgery in mid-July. Shortly before, he had been Germany's top scorer in the World Cup qualifier against Estonia (88-57) with a personal best of 21 points.
„"It was time for a new chapter and Bayern is a very good organization."”
143 games in the NBA
The convalescent will now continue in his rebuilding program in Munich, "the medical department at Bayern, as everyone says, is outstanding," reports the fifth new face in head coach Andrea Trinchieri's squad after Niklas Wimberg, Freddie Gillespie, Elias Harris and Cassius Winston.
Bonga, who is currently staying with his family in his native Rhineland, says: "After the exciting years in the NBA, where I learned a lot, now it was time for a new chapter and Bayern is simply a very good organization. It offers you competition on a high level, especially with the EuroLeague. I think my strength is flexibility on defense as well as offense. I can defend positions one through five and I just want to bring my flow back to Germany."
Isaac Evolue Etue Bofenda Bonga revealed his talent early on in Koblenz near his home town of Neuwied in Rhineland-Palatinate and later in Frankfurt's junior program. He was soon invited to NBA scouting tournaments and made his BBL debut at the age of 17 (48 Bundesliga games to date) for the Frankfurt Skyliners under current national coach Gordon Herbert.
In LA with LeBron, at the Wizards with FCBB addition Winston
In the 2018 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers drafted him at the 39th spot - in December, at 19, he was the youngest player in the NBA's most dazzling team with superstar LeBron James. After 21 games for the Lakers, it was off to the Washington Wizards for two years, where the young German was in the starting five in 49 of 66 games in 2019/2020 (5 ppg, 3.4 rpg). In his second year Cassius Winston was one of his teammates and they will now reunite in the Audi Dome.
Last season, Bonga made another 15 NBA appearances, this time for Toronto and 24 for its farm team Raptors 905 in the NBA G League (13.2 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 3.6 apg).
Isaac Bonga has also been an early call-up to the German national team: in February 2018, at the age of 18 years and three months, he was the youngest player in 40 years of DBB history in the World Cup qualifier against Serbia (79-74). In 2017, Bonga (like FCBB loanee Nelson Weidemann) was part of the German U19 team that participated in a World Cup for the first time. A year ago, he was part of the successful German selection at the Tokyo Olympics (8 ppg, 4.8 rpg).
Baiesi: "Great potential not yet exploited at all".
"Isaac is incredibly versatile and talented," FCBB sporting director Daniele Baiesi said of the young addition. "He is a modern player whose great potential has not even been fully exploited yet. We are honored that he has chosen us to do just that now."
Isaac Bonga's parents immigrated from Congo some 25 years ago. He has six siblings; his older brother Taris, 25, began his career as a soccer player with Bayer 04 Leverkusen and is now on the squad of Bundesliga club VfL Bochum. Younger brother Joshua, 17, plays basketball in the junior program of Munich's Euroleague rival Zalgiris Kaunas in Lithuania.
(*8. November 1999, Neuwied)
Point Guard – 6ft7 – 220 lbs
until 2016: SG Luetzel-Post Koblenz, SG Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners & Juniors (1. Regional league, NBBL)
2016 - 2018: Skyliners Frankfurt (ProB South, BBL)
2018 - 2019: Los Angeles Lakers, South Bay Lakers (NBA, NBA G League)
2019 - 2021: Washington Wizards (NBA)
2021 - 2022: Toronto Raptors, Raptors 905 (NBA, NBA G League)
- 2021 Olympics (quarterfinals)
NBA Draft 2019 Pick No. 39
U19 World Cup 2017 (5th place)
ProB Rookie of the Year 2016/2017
Basketball without Borders Camp 2016, 2017
NBA Top 100 Camp 2016
Adidas Next Generation Tournament All Team 2016, preliminary round in L'Hospitalet (ESP)
U16 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP 2015
European Youth Olympic Festival 2015 (3rd place)
U16 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP 2014