FORT WORTH, Texas - It appears that Jonathan Holton could, indeed, play for West Virginia's basketball team this season. When remains a question for the NCAA.
The junior college transfer, who was ineligible to play right away because he had not completed requirements for a junior college degree, has now apparently completed those requirements. But he still needs an NCAA eligibility committee to approve his status.
All of this is according to WVU sources, who because of academic privacy issues won't speak on the record. Coach Bob Huggins, when asked about it following West Virginia's 74-69 win over TCU Saturday, would only say that he was encouraged about Holton's status.
"Very encouraged,'' he said.
WVU officials believed the NCAA might give Holton the go-ahead to play as early as Friday. In fact, Holton had a spot on the team's charter to Texas just in case, but when the NCAA did not come through he stayed in Morgantown.
It seems unlikely that even if the NCAA were to move and grant Holton eligibility on Monday that he could travel to Texas in time for Monday's game at Texas Tech. The Mountaineers, who won at TCU Saturday, were to fly to Lubbock after the game.
If the NCAA does grant Holton eligibility sometime in the coming week, his debut would likely come Saturday at home when the Mountaineers play Oklahoma State. WVU plays another home game two days later against Texas.
Holton is a 6-foot-7, 210-pound junior forward who two years ago was on the Atlantic 10 all-rookie team as a freshman at Rhode Island. He was dismissed from school there after an arrest and spent last season at a junior college in Florida.
Holton could add some much-needed frontcourt experience for a West Virginia team that is playing now mostly with true freshmen Devin Williams and Brandon Watkins in the post.
That's apparently the reason Huggins wants to play Holton, who by next weekend would have missed 15 of the team's 31 regular-season games. He would have virtually the entire Big 12 season remaining, however, as well as the league tournament and any potential postseason games.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.