Legal issue settled, but WVU basketball recruit's fate isn't
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Jonathan Holton dispensed with his legal proceedings Wednesday and, after a cursory study of the plea agreement, West Virginia University officials believe there is no reason Holton can't enroll and play basketball for the Mountaineers next season.
He does, however, face one other potential stumbling block. He still must complete his junior college course work and graduate in order to enroll.
Holton, the Rhode Island transfer forward who signed a letter of intent with WVU earlier this month, appeared in Washington County (R.I.) Superior Court and pleaded no contest to one charge of video voyeurism. He was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to submit to mental health counseling.
A second count of the same charge was dismissed, according to court records.
WVU officials, after studying the plea agreement later Wednesday, said it appears that Holton has satisfied a stipulation that his scholarship offer would be honored only if his court case was resolved without lingering entanglements.
"It looks like the plea agreement only has probation and no other conditions [that would preclude him from enrolling or competing],'' a source in the athletic department said. "So he looks good to go. But he still has to make the grades.''
Holton is a 6-foot-7 power forward who was named to the Atlantic 10 all-rookie team as a freshman at Rhode Island in 2012 before running into his legal troubles. He played last season at Palm Beach State Community College in Florida, where he averaged 17.5 points and 14.1 rebounds. The year before he averaged 10.2 points and 8.1 rebounds at Rhode Island.
His career at Rhode Island came to an abrupt halt, though, when he was arrested just after his freshman season in late March of 2012 and charged with two counts of video voyeurism. Holton allegedly videotaped consensual sex with two students. Although the sex was consensual, the recording was not.
The videos were later posted online, which prompted the two victims to file complaints. Holton, through an attorney, denied he posted the videos.
Holton, who grew up in Miami, was dismissed from school shortly thereafter and eventually enrolled at the junior college in Florida. Last fall, he committed to Florida International coach Richard Pitino, but was released from his letter of intent after Pitino left FIU for Minnesota.
During Wednesday's court proceedings, Holton, 22, was also ordered to have no contact with the victim.
Now, it seems, his only real issue is one of academics. It is likely that if Holton is able to earn his associate's degree it will take most or all of the summer.
In his one season at Rhode Island, Holton started 26 games and was fourth in the A-10 in rebounding, second in offensive rebounding. He was also third in the league in fouls committed.
Holton is part of a deep pool of six incoming frontcourt recruits for the Mountaineers, which includes another junior college transfer, 6-9 Remi Dibo. The other four are all freshmen - 6-8 Devin Williams, 6-8 Elijah Macon, 6-10 Brandon Watkins and 6-7 Nathan Adrian.
With six incoming recruits, coach Bob Huggins still has at least one more scholarship available for next season. West Virginia lost three seniors (Deniz Kilicli, Dominique Rutledge and Matt Humphrey) and four others have left for other schools. Jabarie Hinds is at UMass, Aaron Brown at St. Joseph's, Volodymyr Gerun at Portland and Keaton Miles has yet to choose a new school.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.