Thursday, May 2, 2013

JONAH BOLDEN: Class of 2014's Australian Hooper Coming to America!!!

JONAH BOLDEN: Class of 2014

Written by: Prospect-Central

When you think of Australia, two sports come to mind; Cricket & Rugby. I don't know how else to say this, but those days might be coming to an end. With the emergence of so many talented basketball players these past few years, the land from down under is slowly becoming a hotbed for hoopers.

Bolden at 2012 Adidas Nations
There's three names on the shortlist of future Australian stars; Dante Exum, Ben Simmons, & Thon Maker. This talented trio is the gold standard when it comes to young developing prospects, and coupled with other outstanding players littered throughout the country, don't be surprised if you see Australia emerge as a basketball powerhouse in the not so distant future.

It's time to add another name to an already growing list of up-and-coming Australian hoopers; Jonah Bolden. Now Bolden is no ordinary bloke. On the contrary, once you watch this teenager play ball, you'll be hard pressed not to say, "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie - Oi, Oi, Oi!"

For all the die hard recruitniks out there who really follow the game of basketball, you actually might've heard about Jonah Bolden before. Last summer at the 2012 Adidas Nations, Bolden was a member of Team Australia that finished with a respectable 4th place showing.

Since Bolden was one of the youngest players at the event his playing time was limited, but his game has come a long ways since then. Even though the most notable Aussie's in attendance were the above mentioned Simmons & Exum (Maker played with Team USA Blue), Bolden should be an integral part of future Australian teams moving forward.

With his size, athleticism, and intriguing skill set, Prospect-Central had to track down this talented Aussie to find out more about his game. What we learned is Jonah's not only an excellent basketball player, he's very personable, extremely grounded, and doesn't take his success for granted. Maybe it's because he lives in Australia, but Bolden's humility is truly a breath of fresh air. In the words of his own countrymen, he's definitely not a "Figjam."

Born January 2nd, 1996, Jonah Bolden has a lot of people he can thank for the development of his game. According to the 17-year old, the one person who stands out above the rest has to be his father, Bruce Bolden. We all know how the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, and this certainly seems like the case with Jonah and his dad.

Bolden & Patric Young's hand (lol)
Mr. Bolden was a standout for Boise State in the early 80's, and went onto have an outstanding professional career in the NBL. The legendary forward had a number of crowing achievements during his 17-years of pro ball, including becoming the first player to have his jersey retired by the West Sydney Razorbacks in 2004. With genes like this, there's no reason not to think Jonah's the next Bolden headed for athletic prominence.

Standing 6-foot-9, 195 pounds, with a 7'2'' wingspan, it's safe to say Jonah has length for days. Size can only take you so far in the game of basketball, so you better be able to actually play the game if you want to succeed at the next level. From the looks of it, Bolden certainly has a chance to make a quid playing ball.

Jonah definitely has the size & athleticism you love to see from developing prospects. He runs the floor extremely well, shows excellent mobility on both sides of the floor, and plays well above the rim. It's his well rounded skill set that might be the most intriguing part of his game though. He has a high basketball IQ, nice court awareness, tight handles, and a sweet stroke with range out to the arc.

There's always areas of improvement when it comes to basketball, and Jonah Bolden's no different. He said he's really trying to work on his defense, in particularly keeping his body low to the ground. He also wants to use his length more to his advantage. Since his game is more finesse rather than power, he's going to have to get used to banging down low, but he still has an enormous amount of potential.

Jonah's currently a junior at Homebush Boys High School in New South Wales, and recently led his club team (New South Wales Metro) to a 2nd place finish at the Australian 18U Junior Championships. Jonah finished the tournament averaging 17.5 ppg, 12.5 rpg, and shot over 50% from the field. The competition might not be as fierce as it is in the United States, but it's pretty obvious he could hold his own against players from the U.S.

Since he played at the Adidas Nations last summer, he's not totally under-the-radar and has even received interest from a few schools. His father handles all of the recruiting business, so Jonah's not exactly sure what schools are interested. He doesn't have any particular colleges he favors, but he did tell me he likes the University of Michigan. Considering his father is originally from Flint and even played at the same high school as Glen Rice (Northwestern), it makes sense Jonah's a fan of the Maize and Blue.

Bolden balling in Australia
The next step in Jonah Bolden's basketball journey; taking his talents to the United States to play high school ball. He definitely wants to come to the U.S. for his senior year, but really has no preference where he plays.

Jonah said, "I just want to come over there and play ball. It doesn't bother me where I'm at. As long as they have a good education system, good basketball program, and good people surrounding me, I'll be happy and balling my heart out."

It's clear Jonah has all the talent in the world to make a name for himself playing the game of basketball. If your a fan of classic movies, he might just be the next Wizard of Oz. Before that time comes however, high school basketball could be in for a rude awakening next year. There's a good chance Jonah Bolden's Coming to America! * Jonah Bolden video playlist

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