Holmes point guard James “Beetle” Bolden announced his commitment to West Virginia on Wednesday.
The class of 2015 standout chose the Mountaineers over Butler, Xavier, Purdue and Ohio University. Bolden said earlier this year that Butler and Xavier were his two favorites, but West Virginia Coach Bob Huggins and his assistants didn’t back down and made multiple visits to see Bolden play and practice this past season.
“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,” Bolden told Scout.com.
The 5-foot-11 prospect was also getting attention from Tennessee, Oklahoma State, Mississippi State and Clemson, among others. Former UK assistant coach Orlando Antigua was staying in contact with Bolden — a lifelong Wildcats fan — before he left to take the head coaching job at South Florida. Louisville never recruited Bolden.
A dynamic ball-handler and above-average outside shooter, Bolden wowed a couple of Rupp Arena crowds during Holmes’ Sweet Sixteen run in 2013. That season ended in the state quarterfinals with a 65-61 loss to eventual state champion Madison Central, which was led by senior guard Dominique Hawkins.
Bolden had 29 points, 13 rebounds and made five three-pointers in that game. Hawkins later called him one of the toughest point guards he had ever played against.
Holmes lost to Covington Catholic in the 9th Region title game last season.
247Sports ranks Bolden as the No. 139 overall prospect in the class of 2015. That recruiting service also has him as the No. 3 player in the state behind Louisville Trinity’s Ray Spalding and Knott Central’s Camron Justice.
The three players are AAU teammates with the Kentucky Travelers and will likely be the top contenders for Mr. Basketball honors next season. Justice has committed to Vanderbilt, and Spalding is still undecided.