MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–After the departure of Juwan Staten and Gary Browne, the point guard position has been a problematic area at times for the West Virginia University basketball team.
Last season Jevon Carter and Tarik Phillip stepped in and got the job done but it wasn’t without adversity.
The Mountaineers will have a healthy James “Beetle” Bolden battling Carter for the starting position this season.
Bolden redshirted last season after suffering an ACL tear in the summer, giving the freshman a year to learn the offense and work on his shot.
“It was tough,” he said. “It was really tough watching my teammates out there playing when I know I could be out there playing. But I just looked at it as a positive side to learn before I get to do the things on the court and I think that got me one step closer this year than having to go last year. ”
Now the 6-foot, 160-pound guard will get his chance to contribute and is working hard to earn playing time.
“I’ve just been trying to get in the gym early and get my legs going, get back to doing the things I used to do,” Bolden said. “I feel great honestly.”
He has his mind set on being the man at the helm of WVU’s offense.
“I’m going to look to try and run the offense,” Bolden added. “Coach Huggs puts me through to distribute the ball and score when I need to. ”
However, earning the starting point guard isn’t going to be an easy task for the Covington, Ky. native. If he wants to be the No.1 guard, Bolden will have to beat out Carter for the position.
“It’s a different level and Beetle, fortunately and unfortunately is playing against three pretty good players,” Huggins said. I think everybody that comes in here… the first thing everybody says is man are those guards good, meaning Dax (Daxter Miles Jr.), JC, (Jevon Carter) and Tarik (Phillip). And they are. Their good so now all of a sudden you are a guy who really hasn’t played. When they want to, they cause a lot of problems. They want to most of the time.”
During the team’s annual Gold-Blue Debut on Thursday Bolden led the Gold team with 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting. The small but mighty guard grabbed seven boards, trying to show just what he is made of.
“I think he’s playing pretty well in the post and he’s really shooting the ball well,” Huggins said after the scrimmage. “I think he’s way more confident. He’s making shots, which helps all of us. When the ball goes in that’s a wonderful thing.”
Bolden may not be the starting guard right away but he will definitely push Carter and give the Mountaineers the boost they need.
Cover Photo Credit: Shanna Rose, BGS