The commitment of James Bolden might have some Mountaineer fans looking at the projected roster two years down the road and thinking that there is a logjam at point guard. However, that's not necessarily the case, as we'll see in this breakdown of WVU's newest basketball verbal commitment.
As a junior, Bolden averaged 20.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.8 steals per game. He was a plus 80% free throw shooter, and has shown improved shooting from distance during summer play this season, hitting more than 50% from three during EYBL action.
WHAT TO LIKE:
Bolden is a two-time first team all-stater, and coming from the hoops rich state of Kentucky, that's saying something. He has excellent speed and quickness -- qualities that don't always appear together. In addition to straight-line speed, he moves very well laterally, and can break down defenders off the dribble.
While Bolden isn't a top flight gunner from long range, he can make defenders pay for sagging off him. He can hit enough threes and pull up for jumpers when teams drop off him to prevent penetration, and if he continues to work on those skills he should be able to do the same things on the collegiate level. He also doesn't appear intimidated
"Coach Huggins is legendary and I think will elevate my game and also make me work my tail off for the opportunities he will be giving me." --James Bolden
Bolden attracted attention from several schools, and would up picking the Mountaineers over Butler, with Xavier, Purdue and Ohio also in the mix. While not the cream of NCAA Division I, WVU could do much worse than snag players with interest from teams that are perennial NCAA tournament participants.
POSSIBLE CONCERNS:Given the recent attrition in the Mountaineer program, the first concern has to be a recruit's ability to absorb the tough coaching from the WVU staff. Bolden alleviated any of those thoughts in his comments upon his commitment.
"Coach Huggins is legendary and I think will elevate my game and also make me work my tail off for the opportunities he will be giving me," the rising senior said.Bolden's position as a point guard might also seem to make for a crowded backcourt, what with Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles heading for WVU this summer, but the fact that the latter two can also play the two guard position leaves plenty of room for Bolden. In fact, it opens the possibility of playing three guards at times (with the addition of swing Tarik Phillip), so there's no immediate though of a logjam at point. Also, given the departure of Juwan Staten after this season, West Virginia needs to foster competition and have multiple options at the point. Bolden gives them that.
We defer to Scout.com national analyst Evan Daniels for the definitive word on Bolden.
"Bolden is a 5-foot-11 lefty with good speed. He moves well laterally. He's fine on the defensive end, not necessarily a standout, but not a bad at it either. Just solid. He's capable of heating up from three and has quite a bit of confidence in his long-range shot.
"He's 8-for-15 from three through seven games in the EYBL thus far this spring. He's averaged 9.7 points a game. He can get a tad turnover prone sometimes, so I think he needs to do a better job of taking care of the ball. He does shoot the ball pretty well on the move and is capable of making mid-range jump shots. "