You can still hear it in his voice, an accent from down under -- Australia that is.
Class of 2014 wing/forward Jonah Bolden no longer resides in Sydney after transferring into Findlay (Nev.) Prep for his final year of high school this fall.
A whirlwind few months for Bolden as he packed everything up, moving from one continent to another, while leaving his immediate family back in Australia, for the opportunity to compete against some of the best basketball competition in the country, not only this year, but at whatever college program he decides to become a part of next summer.
“I went to Adidas Nations (in 2012) and I got more of a feel of going up against better players in the 2013 and 2014 class,” Bolden told GoBlueWolverine. “I went back and told my dad I want to go to high school over here and he looked into it late last year and made contact with Findlay about coming here.
“Coming from Australia, the type of play is more like dribbling down, setting up a play, going through the play -- strict basketball. But over here there’s more freedom and I sort of liked that.”
Adjusting to so much on and off the court in a short period of time as he prepares for the start of basketball season, Bolden has been able to spend some time working out with the NBA’s Anthony Bennett, Tristan Thompson and Avery Bradley already, looking to fully immerse himself in the style of play offered in the United States.
“The first day I got here we had a little scrimmage and Coach Pete pulled me aside when we got back and he noticed that my Australian feel was sort of laid back and not so aggressive,” Bolden said. “He told me I need to start being aggressive when I get the ball and go to the rim hard, taking it at players.”
Deciding to narrow down his list of schools to a top 10 this week, including UCLA, Michigan, UNLV, Louisville, SMU, LSU, Arizona, Oregon State, Auburn, and Vanderbilt, Bolden says that decision became necessary after a litany of programs began calling following a strong performance at Adidas Nations in early August of this year.
“When I got over here I wasn’t planning on narrowing it down until after the recruiting season opened,” Bolden said. “And then school after school was coming to have interviews and meetings and that would take up my study time and individual shooting time.
“So I talked to my dad and asked if it was cool to narrow it down so the individual stuff wouldn’t be as much. I just looked at what each college had to offer, where I would fit position wise, minutes wise, coach history and if the school had what I wanted to major in.”
Now standing 6-foot-9 and a proud 198-pounds, already gaining 10-pounds of muscle since beginning his weight lifting program at Findlay, Bolden brings a versatility to the table that is very intriguing.
Michigan coach John Beilein took notice and has been in contact with Bolden, even hosting his father, Bruce, in Ann Arbor for an unofficial visit while visiting family in the Flint area this fall.
“He said he really liked the campus and facilities and what they had to offer,” Bolden said. “What I want to major in is computing so they have top notch technology. He sat down with the coaches for a couple hours and got a good feel with them.
“He said he really liked it and hasn’t seen anything better.”
Although his father’s presence in Ann Arbor was welcomed, the Wolverines are hoping to host Bolden himself on a visit this fall/winter.
The one hold up? Bolden must take and pass the SAT, something he’ll do on Oct. 26.
Once his test scores come in, Bolden plans to visit as many schools as he can to get a feel for what they’re like through his own eyes.
Either way, Bolden see’s himself as a difference maker in many areas on the basketball floor, eager to continue developing and learning the American style of play.
“I’m the type of player where I can get the rebound and get up the floor, run it, pass it ahead, and have freedom,” Bolden said. “That’s sort of what I looked at with these 10 schools.
“You have to earn the freedom on the court but having a coach that knows you need to let your players have that sort of freedom to, if I get the ball I can dribble up down the middle and kick it to the wings.”