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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  • 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.

  • Mitch

    The fact is, nobody knows yet about Holton, so this article is a bit misleading.

  • ron51

    big larry stupid is as stupid does or in your case whenever you open your mouth stupid comes out

  • jeco

    All you experts should quit all this bull where you think somebody going to give you an award for your brilliance. Go have a morning meeting at some McDonalds were you get a high drinking coffee or all drown in your tears of sorrow.

    • Big Larry


      You mean we're not getting awards???

      Ah Shucks!!!

      One more thing...I hate it when people insult my lack of intelligence.....

  • pghmountaineer

    Well, another long disappointing basketball season on its way.
    So sad. What in the world is happening to our our sports programs.
    It pains me to see how these programs are going in reverse.

  • Big Larry

    The Huggins trolls and relatives teaming against William...

    Why do they hate to hear the Truth....?

    Another Huggins bust and they praise Huggins....

    In Huggins we don't Trust....

    • hailey

      BL, Huggins is way past his prime, kinda like you and your commentary, very old and stale. I for one believe it is time for Huggins to sail off into the sunset. He simply seems to have lost it and is having a diffucult time adapting to the players of today.

  • topper

    In Huggins we trust , hell of a coach , he will get the team together and win this year , I will always support the Mountaineers , I am from southern wv , I deal with Marshall fans on a daily basis most of which are wvu fans also , the ones that doesn't are haters of all other programs that are more successful than they are

    • Nick

      Oliver Luck wants to run a clean program because of his resume'. That means no getting the great recruits by paying them to come here like he did at Kansas State (e.g. Beasley).

  • big tom

    wow, so macon and Holton aren't gonna play this yr... recruiting under this coaching staff blows my mind... every yr. we go thru this,,, why can't they find recruits like beilien and coach them up,, seems our present staff has recruits who don't qualify , don'[t show up, don't pan out, don't stay long, always something negative.

    please tell me why we are going to be better than last yr... poor huggie, the trend is to the bottom,,,how many more yrs will we have to put up with all the busts in the BB program.
    Ollie , you put us in this spot who do we get out of it without paying out a fortune to huggie.

    • Big Larry

      Bob "Sweatsuit" Huggins is not going anywhere....Oliver Luck gave Huggins a lifetime contract and he never has to do anything but show up at the games...

      At 3 million a year, Huggins is milking the WVU athletic Dept dry. In his contract, he can coach till he is 90 if he wants to...And Oliver Luck can never get rid of Him.

  • WVWho

    While William is a blowhard, he speaks some truth. WVU can't afford to be thin in the post to make a run in the tourney. Interesting to see how this turns out in the future, but the high risks are panning out about as you would expect. 50/50

  • Misterman

    Gonna be a redshirt. Aight. He'll be playing at WVU.

  • Misterman

    Little brothers like to pick. How cute.

  • William

    What a big failure 'Sweatsuit Huggins' has been as WVU head basketball coach for so many reasons! Get use to losing WVU fans, because all of his poor recruiting for the last 6 years!

    • Allen

      More cheese with your whine willie?

    • Kevin

      Huggins does leave a lot to be desired as far as recruiting has went here, but recruiting isn't all that goes into being a coach. Ask DeSean Butler what kind of person/coach Huggs is. Ask Kevin Jones. The list goes on and on. The man is a hell of a coach, but a mediocre recruiter. Needs to adjust his staff to make up for the lack of recruiting i think, but as far as X's and O's, he's one of the better 20 coaches in the country.

    • Amber

      Please grow up and go back to Huntington

      • Little Bill

        They don't want him that's why he is over here running his mouth.

        • Misterman

          Correct. That's pretty obvious. But you said, they don't want him. Check their blog. There's nobody there.

          • Mister Man

            I checked Marshall's board three weeks ago just to see if anyone was there. None then and, obviously, none now.

          • Jason

            So..Misterman...I guess by your statement, that means you were trolling the Marshall blogs? Those in glass houses....