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WVU picks up 2015 hoops commitment

By Mitch Vingle, Sports Editor

Levi Cook finally has some company.

Back on Sept. 12, 2012, the 6-foot-10 product of Liberty Raleigh High and, now, Huntington Prep committed to play basketball for West Virginia coach Bob Huggins starting in 2015.

Eighty-seven weeks (or 609 days) later, James “Beetle” Bolden committed to the class as well.

On Wednesday, Bolden, a point guard, held a press conference at Holmes High School in Covington, Ky., and announced he would play for the Mountaineers.

“When I went to visit [WVU], it was just the best fit,” Bolden told the Gazette. “I love the coaching staff. And the fans there seemed like they would cheer for any sport, even golf.”

Bolden said he selected WVU over Big East schools Butler and Xavier, as well as Purdue and Ohio. Other schools interested were Florida State, Iowa, Tennessee, Oklahoma State, Mississippi State, Clemson and Southern Miss.

Bolden pointed to Huggins, who first forged his coaching name across the river from Covington in Cincinnati.

“Obviously I wasn’t alive when Coach was at UC,” Bolden said in an exaggeration, “but he built a great tradition there and at WVU. He’s a great coach and a great person. It just felt like the right choice.”

The news was a spark for the Mountaineer program after it was announced guard Terry Henderson is leaving. Eron Harris is also on his way out as is, apparently, Remi Dibo.

Bolden is a three-star recruit, according to Scout and Rivals. He said he’s “exactly 6-foot tall and 160 pounds,” although listed anywhere from 5-foot-11 to 6-2. He has been called anything from a “dynamic ball-handler” and “above-average outside shooter” to a clone of ex-WVU player J.D. Collins, who mostly distributed the ball and scored little.

Bolden, though, averaged 20.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.8 steals last season for Holmes and is considered a serious candidate to be Kentucky’s next Mr. Basketball award winner.

Recruiting site 247Sports has Bolden as the nation’s No. 139 overall player and No. 3 in Kentucky.

During a Sweet 16 run in the 2013 Kentucky state tournament, Bolden had 29 points (including five 3-point goals) and 13 rebounds against eventual champ Madison Central. Dominque Hawkins, now playing for the University of Kentucky, reportedly called him one of the toughest point guards he’d ever played against.

WVU has three incoming guards for next season: Jevon Carter, who can play point or shooting guard; Daxter Miles, known for his athleticism; and Tarik Phillip of Independence [Kan.] Community College.

Bolden said he was mostly recruited by WVU assistant Erik Martin.

Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, mitchvingle@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.


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