Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Australian Forward Bolden Says A Few Schools Working Hardest
Australian small forward Jonah Bolden is headed Down Under for a short vacation with this family, but before leaving he spoke with SNY.tv about the status of his red-hot recruitment
The 6-foot-9, 210-pound Henderson (NV) Findlay Prep forward recently cut his list to 10 schools — UCLA, Michigan, UNLV, Louisville, Southern Methodist, LSU, Arizona, Oregon State, Auburn and Vanderbilt — but told SNY.tv that a few were among those working the hardest.
“I’m going to be cutting my list down soon but I’d say the ones that are working hard on me now are UCLA, SMU, Louisville [and] Indiana, that’s probably the top right there,” he said by phone Monday night.
Of that group, Indiana was not on his original list of 10.
UCLA assistant David Grace recently visited with Bruce Bolden, Jonah’s father and an American who played professionally in Australia.
“Yeah, he was down in Australia with my dad,” Jonah said. “He had a good visit. I guess it was a vacation for himself but also just recruiting.”
That trip made an impression on Jonah.
“It definitely shows how much they want me, a need, a want,” he said. “I appreciate it a lot.”
Grace is coming off the successful recruitment of 6-8 Milwaukee power forward Kevon Looney, but has told Bolden there is room in Westwood for both forwards.
“Coach Grace asked me the other day about him coming there and he said he’s going to play power forward, which I love to hear,” Bolden said, adding that he sees himself as more of a three-man. “Me being an inch taller than him and playing the three, stretch four, that’s something to take into account, yeah.”
Louisville coach Rick Pitino and assistant Mike Balado also met two weeks ago with Bolden at Findlay Prep.
“We had a meeting for about an hour or so and we had a nice talk,” Bolden said. “[I like] their style of play and how they promised me minutes, I’d be able to come in and make a difference right away so that’s something that I just kept and held onto.”
SMU coach Larry Brown also made an impression on Bolden.
“Coach Larry speaks for himself,” Bolden said. “He’s one of the best there is. I love his style of play. I watched him with Allen Iverson and all these other players and I’ve done some research on him and I just love his history.”
Indiana, which recently landed a pledge from shooting guard James Blackmon Jr., is also in the mix. Coach Tom Crean and his staff are involved with another Australian star in 6-6 guard Dante Exum,who has yet to decide whether he will enter the 2014 NBA Draft or play a year in college.
“We grew up together,” Bolden said of Exum. “I played with Dante this summer and stuff like that so I’m really tight with them [Exum and 2015 LSU commit Ben Simmons of Montverde, also Australian]”
Of Exum’s plans, Bolden said, “He keeps it on the donw low. He’s still 50/50. He’s still weighing out whether he wants to experience the college life. He’s always had that dream of the college life, you know, one year in college and having that experience and then going to the draft, or whether his stock is high enough to go straight to the draft.”
Of the other schools on Bolden’s list, he said: “The rest are all equal, they’re trying to recruit me. Those are the ones that are probably the most outstanding. Vanderbilt has been calling me as well.”
Bolden plans to huddle with his family while home in Australia and then set some visits. He likely won’t sign until the spring.
“This trip I’m taking now back to Australia will help me sit down and talk to my dad, speak with him about what I want to do, find out some options about when he’s going to have some time off to come and visit,” Bolden said.
He added: “Yeah, I’ll be signing and committing later.”
As for high schools, Bolden said he also considered Brewster (N.H.) Academy and Montverde (FL), but felt that Findlay was the best place for him.
He is playing the four alongside Kansas-bound wing Kelly Oubre and uncommitted two guard Rashad Vaughn.
“I just felt that they had a nice system going and a nice history with [No. 1 draft pick] Anthony Bennett and stuff like that, so I thought they were doing stuff right,” Bolden said.
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.