Hitting high notes on and off the basketball court

On the court, a certain rhythm is responsible for the Elon men’s basketball team snagging second place in the Southern Conference’s North Division.

But outside the gym, some of the guys still rely on pattern, practice and a different kind of move. Among them are sophomore guard Jack Isenbarger and junior guard Josh Bonney.

“I guess you would call it hip-hop,” Bonney said about his music. “I grew up listening to Michael Jackson and The Temptations, so that’s really where my musical foundation started, but I’ve always been heavy into hip-hop, rap and R&B.”

In addition to his contributions to the Phoenix, the Houston native has given successful performances off the court. Last fall, he performed four shows and boasts six gigs that followed last year’s season.

“The coaches work with me, and I appreciate that,” he said. “Last spring I had to move around a few workouts because I had shows at different campuses, but they support my music just like my teammates.”

According to Bonney, he has a great foundation of fans.

“I’ve had some pretty good shows,” Bonney said. “The first one I ever did here at Elon was at Fat Frogg last March. Almost everyone from the team was there — the coaches even came. It was well promoted and it was just a good night.”

Among those often in attendance is sophomore guard Jack Isenbarger, who also has an ear for music.

“I don’t have a background in music, but I took piano lessons for about a week when I was younger and then I quit,” Isenbarger said.

Isenbarger said he has time during the offseason to play the piano for fun, watching YouTube videos to teach himself.

“I guess I work on it during the summer,” he said. “I’m not good enough really to get serious and do it, but it’s something to have fun with so I’ll probably continue to do it.”

His recent accolades on the court, such as being selected as the SoCon Player of the Week for Jan. 31 – Feb. 6, is impressive, but so is his ability to teach himself popular songs, such as Adele’s “Someone Like You,” by ear.

“If I hear a song, whether it be on the radio or on my iPod, that I like, I go on YouTube and look it up and learn how to play it,” he said. “Just picking up songs like that, and listening to good artists is what I like to do.”

For Bonney, honing his talent is a more pressing commitment. Along with pursuing a degree in communication science and music technology, he has worked with Limelight Records, a record company run by Elon students, for nearly a year and released his debut mix-tape “This and That” last spring.

“Whatever you do in your spare time, if there’s a TV show that you watch every night, or play video games, I make my music,” he said. “I do that as my hobby. I don’t watch TV or do other stuff, I substitute that time for Limelight.”

We’re in the locker room a lot, and usually that’s our time to share our new music or who’s cool.

Music finds its way into all aspects of Bonney’s life, including basketball.

“We’re in the locker room a lot, and usually that’s our time to share our new music or who’s cool,” Bonney said. “There’s always someone updating their iPod or iPhone, playing some new stuff, so that’s the most common way music brings us together.”

The connection between basketball, music and determination seems tangible to the duo.

“Having some rhythm and incorporating that into my game is something that translates across both ends of the spectrum,” Isenbarger said.

Hip-hop similarly comes onto the court for the rapper.

“Sometimes I literally rap during the games,” Bonney said. “I’ll be zoned in, I’m fully aware of what’s going on on the court, but whatever I was listening to that day, I might be saying it over and over.”

Bonney expects to continue working more on making music following the end of the basketball season.

“I’m kind of just working on stuff leisurely now,” he said. “But I definitely plan to have some sort of compilation coming out before the end of this year, so you all should look out for that.”

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply