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Thursday April 24, 2014 Jaterra Bonds gets the WNBA call

Updated: 3:23pm, April 24

Bonds on phone GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Jaterra Bonds was listening to the keynote speaker during Thursday’s luncheon for graduating University of Florida student-athletes when her phone started vibrating. The caller ID said it was basketball coach Amanda Butler.

Bonds quietly answered.

“Step outside really quickly,” Butler said.

Bonds popped out of the Gator Room and then got the news; the WNBA Indiana Fever was wondering if Bonds, the point guard, top scorer and unquestioned leader of the Florida’s 2013-14 NCAA Tournament squad, might be interested in coming to tryout camp this weekend.

First, there was silence, the deafening variety, followed by some some stammering.

“It was so emotional,” Bonds said. “I didn’t cry, but I was sort of lost for words.”

Added Butler: “I know the kid well enough to know exactly what her face looked like and what was going through her mind. She didn’t scream, but she was over the moon. Jaterra wanted a chance so badly and didn’t think it was going to happen, but you never know when those opportunities are going to come. You have to be ready.”

She wasn’t taken in the WNBA draft last month, so Bonds will have to do it the hard way. That’s OK, too. Bonds, the Gainesville P.K. Yonge product who averaged 15.6 points as a senior and finished seventh on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,602 points and first in career minutes played with 4,294, has never been one to take the easy route. In fact, she was all set to give professional hoops overseas a crack this summer.

Then her phone rang at lunch.

"I can't believe it," she said.

Now, Bonds will finish up classes Friday, be on a plane Saturday to Indy, deal with tryouts and preseason games next week, then be back the following weekend walk the O'Connell Center's graduation stage and pick up her degree in telecommunications.

But first, you can say she has the Fever.

“Before that phone call, everything was up in the air, but you just never know when you might get that call,” Bonds said. “You just want to be ready -- and I will be ready when I get there, I promise you that.”

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