Video Created by: Shanna Rose and Kelsie VanderWijst
MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–West Virginia University forward Jonathan Holton has come along way over the last three seasons.
He came to Morgantown as a young man with a checkered past and is leaving a better person because of his time with the Mountaineers.
The Miami, Fla. native learned from an early age what it meant to be a team player.
“I have 12 brothers and sisters,” Holton said. “One thing you got to be quick. You got to be fast. You got to get to the dinner table. You got to get to showers, brushing your teeth. You just got to do everything fast. If not you will be waiting in line. But it was nice too because we didn’t have to grow up with friends. We already had friends from birth.”
Like the 6-foot-7, 220-pound senior, all the Holton males are competitive by nature.
“All my brothers are so competitive that everything we do like video games,” he said. “One of my brothers he don’t even play sports at all and he still think he’s the best thing ever. It’s just all in the heart, but I love them to death to tell you the truth. And it great having them in my life.”
The other love of Holton’s life is basketball, and that love landed him in a WVU uniform.
The road to becoming a Mountaineer wasn’t easy. He had to make a few stops and learn a few lessons along the way, but in the end coming to WVU was an easy choice and one of the best decisions of his life.
“It was a no brainer once coach Huggins got on the phone,” he said. “I already knew, great coach, third all time winning. And I love to win so just to kind of know that coach wanted me, great spot for me. I’ve been successful so far.”
Holton never would have imagined how important a logo on the front of a jersey was to an entire state, but it was something he quickly learned.
“I swear to God and the great thing is, they (coaches) never told me this, they treat you like an NBA team here because there is no pro team here,” he said. “Everywhere I go is mad love and support.
“And the fans are great to you too. Even when I was going through that little four game. They still gave me confidence. They still showed me love. I was just happy to be like apart of something so special.”
Holton believes his ability to rebound and his passion for the game have been why he has been successful during his collegiate career.
“Great rebounder throughout the college period. I just have a good spirited practices wherever I am at URI, Palm Beach, here. I just love playing and I am a great arguer. I like to argue when I’m playing just so I can get in your head and make the game more serious. Just had a lot of fun. To tell you the truth I had a lot of fun. I had a lot of support and it was just great being a college athlete.”
Even though Holton’s time at WVU wasn’t without adversity, it is an experience that has helped him grow into a man. He was suspended in January for four game for a violation of team rules, and it was a time that really put life in perspective for Holton.
“It humbled me as a person, player. It motivated me and made me look at life more serious because I cannot picture life without basketball. It just made me work harder. I got in the gym every day. Prayed every day. Just asked God, please, please, please help me get back out there. Because all I wanted to do was get back out there and coach Huggins told me ‘hold on, you’re going to get back, you’re going to get back.’ And I’m just happy I was able to get back, just get back around my teammates and coaches.”
Holton’s decision to become a Mountaineer was the right decision in the end.
“I am happy it all ended here to tell you the truth because coach Huggins, coach (Larry) Harrison, coach (Ron) Everhart, coach (Erik) Martin. They all stayed on top of me. They never let me get down or try to leave and then die, which I would never do because the coaching staff is great. If this message ever get out, if you all want to come play call basketball, come play for Bob Huggins because he will push you to you limit.”