MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Coach Bob Huggins said the eligibility saga of junior college signee Jonathan Holton is “out of my control,” suggesting the power forward could be headed for a redshirt season.

With Holton potentially shelved alongside freshman recruit Elijah Macon, another power forward, that would leave West Virginia with only nine scholarship players this season and particularly thin around the basket.

Th 6-foot-7 Holton, dismissed from Rhode Island amid legal trouble in 2012, played last season at Palm Beach (Fla.) State Community College and reportedly spent the summer there completing credits. He enrolled at WVU in August and has been practicing with the team, unlike Macon, but hasn’t been cleared to play in games.

“I don’t know what I can tell you,” Huggins said Tuesday. “I don’t want to screw him up or us up. I guess we’ll find out (about his eligibility) when they tell us.”

A negative outcome for Holton apparently isn’t one that could be rectified with spring-semester eligibility. “He wouldn’t be able to play at all—we’d redshirt him,” Huggins said.

After the first week of practices, teammates offered strong reviews about Holton’s impact—not surprising considering he averaged 17.5 points and 14.1 rebounds at Palm Beach State after being an Atlantic 10 all-rookie selection (10.2 points and 8.1 rebounds) at Rhode Island.

“Holton, whew, he’s going to be a long, athletic defender and rebounder,” said Mountaineers junior forward Kevin Noreen. “He’s 6-7, but he plays like he’s 6-9 or 6-10.”

Without Holton and Macon, WVU’s inside muscle would be limited to the 6-10 Noreen and two 6-9 freshmen, Devin Williams and Brandon Watkins. Whereas Williams is broad-chested and physically imposing, Watkins is lanky and slender and could have benefitted from a redshirt season.

Two other 6-9 newcomers—Nathan Adrian and Rémi Dibo—are primarily wing players who could struggle with low-post defense.

“It’s going to come down to mental toughness, because we can’t get in foul trouble. We’re going to have to play our minutes wisely,” said Noreen.

“There’s still a difference in smart fouls and dumb fouls, and I was a culprit of that last year at times. So were some of our other big guys.”

Noreen was disqualified only once last season, but his 75 fouls were third-most on the team and his fouling ratio was second-highest with one committed every 7.5 minutes. Aaric Murray fouled out four times and committed 102 fouls (one every 6.09 minutes), while Deniz Kilicli was DQ’d three times and was called for 90 fouls (one every 8.32 minutes).

“You know, if a guy’s got a layup, you don’t need to waste a foul,” Noreen said. “It’s about just being smart with the five fouls you do have. For me, it’s more setting screens, making sure my feet are set and not moving to get that cheap foul.”

West Virginia opens the season by hosting Mount St. Mary’s one month from today on Nov. 8

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  • wvtd

    just try to stay sober this year huggins.

  • Luke

    Before I read the article I new the redshirt would be because academics and not an injury. Can't we just recruit one undersized guy that can actually shoot the ball and has good grades?

  • Hold this

    Big Larry = Big Idiot
    Big Larry = Retard
    Big Larry = Stupid
    Big Larry = William

  • MojoJojo

    There was a 6'10" high school bball player convicted earlier this week of raping a fellow female student at his school.
    Today, Thuggins flew out of Pittsburgh to go to Florida and offer this guy a scholarship.

  • wvajoker

    I am glad to see the Four Jackasses (horseman??) showed up to bray at each other in the back corner of the corral. They spout their drivel and then expect to be respected for their intelligence. Sounds asinine doesn't it?

  • Matt

    WVU fans are the most fickle in the country. Pretty sad. Huggs is a true Mountaineer!

  • Larry

    I have to be honest, I couldn't care less.

  • big tom

    when we recruit felons, and misfits, the ultimate conclusions usually pan out to be negative.
    how have we gotten ourselves into this mess in both football and basketball?
    Huggin's buddies at kstate, loved him cause he went out and drank with them all night.
    as they say, be careful what you wish for,,,
    well huggi's got the fat contract, is fat, and is setting back building his house of dreams, and thinks about the good ole days at UC..
    Huggie needs some incentives, like Ollie telling him his job is on the line and his legacy is in jeopardy and will be remembered as a fat cat who couldn't keep up with changing times...
    at least , during your news conferences, you should act semi-interested in the team and players

    • gv

      Well said big tom!

  • MojoJojo

    Already 1/3 of his most recent recruiting class has bitten the dust. Typical Thuggins. The recruitment of these marginal, at best, student athletes is appalling. Thuggins keeps recruiting players where their kryptonite is a couple of text books.

  • leroy jethro gibbs

    dont worry huggins will retire if he has another bad year, sometimes its better to burn out ...than to fade away

  • gv

    The kid from Martinsburg did the right thing, went to a good school, good coach, surrounded by good players with the ability to get a good education. No wonder he avoided this "train wreck"!

  • William101

    Looks like we are being prepared to expect Holton to r/s this year. Certainly, it's a big disappointment. But it will be interesting to see how our nine man roster plays.

    We will be lacking interior depth, and our only true PF, Devin Williams, is a freshman.

    Brandon Watkins will have to step up and play a lot of ball, and it will be interesting to see how Huggs uses Dibo, at 6'9" and Nate Adrian, also a big man.

    If we play together as a unit, we'll win some games that we lost last year. We don't have all of the pieces to the puzzle this year, and we'll try to disguise our weaknesses, but there will most likely be games where we are exposed too.

    I still think we'll have a winning season, NIT?, whetting our appetite for next year when everyone returns + r/shirts Macon and Holton, and frosh Carter & Miles.

    Hard for me to be negative when the year hasn't even started. Some of our best seasons have sneaked up on us.

    • Mister Man

      Well stated.

  • Dougie

    I can't stand to listen to his press conferences. It's very painful. I know the reporters have to dread them... He needs to take an interview course at WVU.

    • William

      I think 'Sweatsuit' Huggins can afford it. He makes an outrageous salary of over $10,000 dollars everyday. (7 days a week)
      Do you think WVU is getting their monies worth?

  • rekterx

    Uhhhh ... since Huggs himself is quoted as saying that Holton might be redshirted I think the title of the article is spot on.

    There is nothing misleading about this article. Maybe it doesn't read the way you would like it to read. But it is not misleading.

    I think people are having a hard time coming to grips with the reality of all things WVU basketball.

  • steve

    The title of the article is a little misleading. It could just as well say "Holton could _____(fill in the blank with anything you want)" Until the NCAA reports on the situation it is just speculation.