Jonah Bolden to UCLA, Coach Says He Can Be a Pro (UPDATED)
Australian small forward Jonah Bolden committed to UCLA during an official visit to campus that ended Monday.
The 6-foot-9, 210-pound Henderson (NV) Findlay Prep forward recently cut his list to six schools — UCLA, Louisville, Kentucky, Indiana, USC and SMU — but UCLA always appeared to have an inside track after assistant coach David Grace visited the Bolden family in Australia.
“Jonah was impressed with Coach [Steve] Alford and felt he would enjoy playing for him, particularly hearing he would play a small forward which is his natural position,” Bruce Bolden, the player’s father who visited UCLA with his son, told SNY.tv.
“He also liked UCLA’s playing style and felt it suited his skill set and he could fit in with the players. Plus, the coaching staff is very experienced in developing players for the pros.”
Findlay Prep coach Jerome Williams, a former NBA player, told SNY.tv that Jonah “can really help [UCLA] stretch the floor. As a power forward, he really has the dynamic of being a stretch four. A rebounder, shot-blocker as well as being able to hit the long ball with the 3-point shot.”
Williams said Bolden has the potential to be an NBA player down the road.
“Whenever you put yourself in position to be a top-40 player, with his height, with his length and the ability to shoot and rebound the ball and push it up the floor with his ball-handling, he puts himself in a very good position to be an NBA player with all his skillsets,” the coach said. “If he continues to work hard, I plan on visiting him in college and also in the pros.”
Bolden joins an impressive class of bigs for UCLA that includes 6-8 forward Kevon Looney, 6-10 center Gyorgy Golomanand 7-footer Thomas Welsh. They have one scholarship left to use.
Grace told Bolden there was room for both Looney and Bolden.
“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 told SNY.tv before the pledge. “Me being an inch taller than him and playing the three, stretch four, that’s something to take into account, yeah.”
Grace recently went to Australia to visit withBruce Bolden, an American who played professionally in Australia.
“Yeah, he was down in Australia with my dad,” Jonah said of Grace. “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.”
Follow Adam Zagoria on TwitterAnd like ZAGS on Facebook
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.