MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–Jonathan Holton has been an early presence on the court for the West Virginia University basketball team.
Holton has registered a double-double in both of the Mountaineers’ wins, but what is most impressive is the lack of fouls that the senior is being called for.
Last season the Miami, FL native had 118 fouls over the course of the season. When Holton got in foul trouble early, he would end up on the bench.
Meaning the Mountaineers’ would be without one of their better defensive players. The 6-foot-7, 220-pound forward had 41 steals and averaged 7.5 points per game. He led the team with 105 offensive rebounds and 29 blocks.
The season is young, but so far Holton has done a better job of staying out of foul trouble.
“We watched the video of the rule changes,” he said. “So coach (Bob) Huggins tell us everyday, you can’t reach. For me from last year as soon as the game would start I would get my first foul in the first minute. It’s annoying because I had to go sit on the bench. And I would just sit there and get all like come on play. Now, I am learning the less fouls, the more minutes I get. So hopefully last year kind of drilled me in to this year, like keep my hands up and pick my fouls.”
Holton has four personal fouls through the first two games. That is significantly improved from a guy who averaged 3.4 fouls per game last year and fouled out a team-high seven times.
The other area that Holton struggled last season was 3-point shooting. He shot just 20.1 percent from beyond-the-arc.
“I just got to set my feet and hit my threes. I was kind of excited that I was actually out there the whole time. I actually played 20 plus minutes. I was good attacking the boards and getting tip-ins. But I need to take my time. I get too trigger-happy out there and start shooting. I need to slow down a little bit.”
Huggins knows Holton’s excitement tends to get him in trouble on the court.
“I don’t know what the right word is,” Huggins said after WVU defeated Northern Kentucky. “I’ll say something and then I’ll get a bunch of letters about how insensitive I am. He’s kind of hyper. We have to get him slowed down.”
While Holton’s love for the game is great, the forward needs to learn when to slow it down a notch.
“Sometimes it looks like he’s trying to shoot it before the ball even gets in his hands,” Huggins said. “And then he puts about three over the rim, which is OK, because we’ll rebound those, but we need to get him slowed down.”
Holton is going to be a key to WVU’s success this season. If he continues playing well and improving, the Mountaineers could possibly make the magic last a little longer this season.
Holton will need to slow it down and continue playing stellar defense without the fouls.