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Freshman Rasir Bolton Turning Heads For Penn State Hoops

After the losses of Tony Carr and Shep Garner, there were many questions surrounding Penn State’s backcourt coming into this season. Other than Jamari Wheeler, who averaged just two points per game in 14 minutes per contest last year, head coach Pat Chambers has needed to rely on freshmen for production on offense from the guard positions.

The freshman trio of Myles Dread, Myreon Jones, and Rasir Bolton all look capable of putting the ball in the basket when called upon. But the most impressive of the three so far might be the 6’2″ Bolton, who comes off the bench for either Dread or Wheeler.

Acting as the team’s sixth man in a role as a primary ball handler, Bolton has looked confident in two games with the Nittany Lions. In his first regular season game, he shot 3-for-5 from the field, tacked on six assists, and was aggressive attacking the rim. Bolton finished with 13 points in a solid collegiate debut, but his next game is really what has campus buzzing.

The freshman poured in 25 points in a victory against Jacksonville State, hitting four shots from behind the arc in the process. By the end of the game, Bolton was splashing nearly 30-foot shots in the faces of defenders. 

“Since the offseason and preseason, I’ve been telling everybody how good these freshmen are,” Lamar Stevens said. “With [Bolton] being under-recruited and undervalued…he deserves moments like this.”

Bolton attended Massanutten Military Academy, where he was ranked as a four-star recruit and the 29th-best point guard in the nation by ESPN.

The freshman has looked calm and unfazed by playing extensive minutes in the first two games this season. He hasn’t started either one, but has actually played more minutes than starting guard Jamari Wheeler. Bolton only weighs 180 pounds, but has used his body surprisingly well to finish through traffic. He’s shown the ability to take the ball coast-to-coast and not simply settle for spot-up threes.

Despite coming off the bench, Bolton has maintained a positive mindset early on this season.

“I’m not really focused on [starting],” he said. “I’m trying to win and play Penn State basketball…it’s whatever we gotta do to win.”

The Virginia native is now averaging 19 points per game and shooting more than 50 percent from three-point range. If he can keep putting up these kinds of numbers going into conference play, a starting spot may be within reach sooner rather than later.

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About the Author

Austin Smith

Austin Smith is a junior broadcast journalism major. He grew up in New Jersey and is a writer for Onward State. He specializes in football, basketball, and the New York Knicks.

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