Jonah Bolden


UCLA hopes to have versatile forward back to full strength by mid-July

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Given their personnel losses from their Sweet 16 team, led by Norman Powell and Kevon Looney, UCLA is expecting 6-foot-9 forward Jonah Bolden to be a key player in 2015-16. Bolden, who was supposed to be a freshman last season, wasn’t cleared by the NCAA and wasn’t even allowed to practice with the team until late January.

That inactivity makes this offseason an important one for the Australian, but unfortunately for he and the Bruins he isn’t at full strength. Bolden underwent knee surgery in mid-May, which was expected to sideline him anywhere from six to eight weeks. In an interview with Jack Wang of the LA Daily News, head coach Steve Alford stated that he hopes to have Bolden back at full strength by mid-July.

Alford also discussed the impact Bolden could have on next year’s team, which returns starters Bryce Alford, Isaac Hamilton and Tony Parker and adds some talented recruits as well.

On former four-star recruit Jonah Bolden’s role after sitting out the 2014-15 season:

“He’s a big guard. Being able to play somebody that’s 6-9, 6-9 1/2, long wingspan — to be able to play him at a guard position will help. And then we can swing him a little bit, like we did with Kyle (Anderson). We can play him at the big guard, we can play him at the stretch four. Good rebounder, great passer, and he can score it. He can score it all the way out to the three-point line. You know, it’s his first year. Anytime you’re a freshman, you’re going to go through some growing pains. But hopefully, he’ll be back healthy by mid-July, to where he can get a good summer in.”

The Anderson comparison is an interesting one, especially when considering what the current San Antonio Spur did during his lone season playing for Alford. Anderson was one of the nation’s best players and arguably its most versatile in 2013-14, averaging 14.6 points, 8.8 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game.

Being used in a similar role, can Bolden have that kind of impact in 2015-16? Part of that will depend upon how his rehab goes this summer, because if Bolden has the ability to transition from rehab to skill work before the fall that would undoubtedly be a positive for UCLA.

And if UCLA can have another playmaking option alongside the likes of Alford, Hamilton and freshmen Aaron Holiday and Prince Ali, that will help them in a Pac-12 that will be more balanced at the top.

Report: UCLA forward has knee surgery

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UCLA freshman forward Jonah Bolden didn’t get a chance to play this season after being ruled ineligible. But the Bruins are still counting on the 6-foot-10 Bolden to contribute immediately next season and he was the No. 32 overall national prospect in the 2014 class.

The talented forward is going to miss some time this summer to recover as Joey Kaufman of the Orange County Register reports that Bolden had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. It’s been called a “slight” tear and Bolden is expected to miss 6-to-8 weeks.

With the loss of Kevon Looney to the 2015 NBA Draft, Bolden is being asked to fill some of Looney’s production and a talented player has had since January to practice with the Bruins. The surgery and recovery for Bolden is a minor setback and he could continue to use reps, but he has been playing with this team for a bit and has a good start going into his sophomore season.

Ineligible UCLA freshman forward now allowed to practice with the team

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UCLA has struggled to an 11-9 start and a 3-4 beginning in Pac-12 play, but the Bruins got a bit of good news on Monday afternoon as ineligible freshman forward Jonah Bolden was ruled eligible to begin practicing with the team.

Bolden took to Twitter to announce his debut with UCLA, as he’ll continue to redshirt the 2014-15 season.

The 6-foot-9 Bolden is a native of Australia and his eligibility issues stemmed from his arrival in the United States last season. Bolden started at Findlay Prep before moving to Brewster Academy to finish out his high school career.

A four-star prospect who was ranked 32nd in the Class of 2014 by Rivals, Bolden should be an immediate contributor in practice as the Bruins are thin with able-bodied players. Bolden spending practice time with his teammates should also build some additional chemistry for when he’s able to play in games next season.