West Virginia has a history with players and nicknames. ‘Famous’ Amos Zereoue, Jake ‘The Snake’ Kelchner, and Darryl ‘Truck’ Bryant made headlines because of their labels. Now, a new nickname has joined the ranks of Mountaineers. Sponge.
Jonathan Holton, a transfer from the University of Rhode Island, has adopted ‘Sponge’ as his nickname, and for good reason.
“I was always playful like Spongebob growing up,” said the transfer. Holton went on to clarify that his teammates would joke that he ‘soaked’ up rebounds. He really did ‘soak’ up the ball at URI, averaging 8.2 rebounds while playing an average of 28 minutes per game.
Sponge sat out the 2013-2014 season at West Virginia because of transfer requirements, but is finally ready to take the court with the Mountaineers. His addition to the team builds on an already athletic squad. Along with Holton will be Devin Williams, Nathan Adrian, Brandon Watkins, BillyDee Williams and Elijah Macon.
“I can’t wait to play, I am such a competitor,” said Holton when asked about the upcoming scrimmage against Shepherd. The junior forward also made note that he loves playing with a lot of energy, because it forces everyone else to play with more energy.
“Holton is going to be a pretty good player,” head coach Bob Huggins said after the Gold-Blue Debut last Friday. Holton recorded six points, two blocks and a steal in the debut, and also admitted that he accepts his role as a big time rebounder and threat in the low-post. Along with stretching the floor he said he plans to wreak havoc down low.
Juwan Staten knows the same struggles of transferring and sitting out, and Holton says it is brought up on conversation everyday.
“He tells me everyday don’t take anything for granted, just play hard,” Holton said about Staten. “It (The Big 12) is going to be more aggressive.” Aggressive is the right word, because playing Temple’s front line does not compare to battling against Texas’ front court.
The two former transfers say they have created a good relationship, and compliment each other’s game. Holton said he can pick-and-pop, and help in the transition game. It is apparent Holton is ready to see real action. He will most likely play good minutes in Sunday’s scrimmage against Shepard, and will be a good test to see if he can keep his head on straight and become the player Huggins thinks he is.