Holton suspension strikes as WVU enters stretch of marquee games

West Virginia forward Jonathan Holton produced 14 points and 11 rebounds during Tuesday night’s 70-55 win over Kansas State at the WVU Coliseum.


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Senior forward Jonathan Holton, the front man on West Virginia’s press and its most active rebounder of late, was suspended indefinitely Thursday night for a violation of team rules.

Coach Bob Huggins announced the suspension following his weekly radio show, hours after MetroNews attempted to contact him and other staff members for confirmation of Holton’s discipline.

A source said Holton was expected to miss three games, beginning with Saturday afternoon’s Big 12/SEC Challenge at Florida. The Miami native said he planned to have a group of family members watch him play in Gainesville.

School officials did not confirm the length of the suspension.

The game at Florida begins a difficult eight-day stretch in which the No. 9 Mountaineers (17-3, 6-2) visit No. 14 Iowa State and host No. 17 Baylor.

Holton has started all 55 games in his West Virginia career—the program that gave him a second chance after being expelled from Rhode Island in the spring of 2012. He was posting 9.7 points and 7.5 rebounds per game this season and had been especially productive in the past three games, compiling 12.3 points and 10.3 rebounds in a team-high 34 minutes.

After promising freshman season at Rhode Island in which he averaged 10.2 points and 8.1 rebounds, Holton was dismissed from the school following an arrest for secretly videoing consensual and separate sexual encounters with two female students.

In May 2013, a year after the charges were filed, Holton pleaded no contest to one count of felony video voyeurism. He was sentenced to two years probation and ordered to undergo mental health counseling.

Holton spent one season at Palm Beach (Fla.) State Community College before signing with WVU and sitting out the 2013-14 season when the NCAA didn’t clear him to play immediately.

Through two-plus years in the Mountaineers program, Holton had not encountered any public problems until this suspension. Now the Big 12 co-leaders could be particularly shorthanded with forward Esa Ahmad recovering from a strained knee that sidelined him for Tuesday’s win over Kansas State.

Huggins could be forced into a four-guard lineup at times or he might need to allocate more minutes to forward Brandon Watkins, who has appeared in only 13 games after offseason knee surgery.


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