Jonathan Holton mentioned his relationship with assistant coach Ron Everhart several times as he described his visit and signing with West Virginia, making it clear that was a key issue in his decision to attend WVU after graduating from Palm Beach State College this month.
"Everything coach Everhart and Coach Bob Huggins told me, I believe in," Holton said while returning home from his official visit to the WVU campus. "Coach Huggins thinks my game fits his system, and I think it does too. I have a good relationship with Coach Everhart, and he has stuck with me. He has never steered me wrong."
Everhart and Holton (6-9, 215 lbs.) first crossed paths when the former was the head coach at Duquesne and the latter was a freshman at Rhode Island. Of course, recruiting the talented forward was not on Everhart's mind at the moment, but in the wild and weird ways of college hoops, their paths would again soon cross.
While Everhart took an assistant coaching spot at WVU, Holton was dismissed from the Ram program after being charged with two counts of video voyeurism, which involved the online posting of explicit videos of Holton and two females. That issue, as well as another charge involving stolen property, are either resolved or scheduled to be so soon, according to Holton, who said he had a final court date at the end of this month.
"I have paid fines and court costs, and done everything I need to do with my community service, and I think this will be the end of [the legal issues]," Holton said. "I have not had any trouble this year [at Palm Beach]."
After leaving Rhode Island, Holton played this year at Palm Beach State College, where he said he averaged 17 points and 14 rebounds. He earned NJCAA and FCSAA player of the week honors during his outstanding season for the Panthers. He originally committed to Florida International and coach Richard Pitino last summer, but was released from that commitment after Pitino left to take the Minnesota job. He then decided to sign with West Virginia, where he will have two years of eligibility remaining.
"I had a breakout year at Palm Beach," he said. "My numbers were really good. I shot nearly 40% from three and 80% from the free throw line. I can play both inside and out. I have always been a three-point shooter, but I never lost that ability even though I grew a lot. I can definitely go inside, too. I can face up, and I can bang and rebound. At Palm Beach the coaches played me in different spots. I played the five, but I brought the ball upcourt sometimes, and the coaches would move me around and play me at the three and the four. I can play out in the open court defensively, too."
Holton will graduate this week, and plans to get to West Virginia as quickly as he can.
"I am scheduled to go to West Virginia during the second summer session, but I will start earlier if I can. I want to get involved early, and work out with the strength coaches, and just get involved as much as I can."
Holton averaged 10.2 points and 8.1 rebounds per game for Rhode Island during his sole season of 2011-12. Prior to that, he was a star at Coral Gables High School in Florida, where he tallied 25,5 points and 15, 5 rebounds per game as a senior while earning All-Dade County 6A first team honors.