The Times West Virginian

May 6, 2013

Huggins signs troubled star

By Bob Hertzel
For the Times West Virginian

MORGANTOWN — Bob Huggins, with some scholarships to give, decided to take a gamble with one reminiscent of some of the chances he took when he was coaching Cincinnati, reportedly picking up a commitment over the weekend from 6-9 power forward Jonathan Holton.

According to Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv, Holton has agreed to play at WVU after spending last season at Palm Beach State College following playing the 2011-12 season at Rhode Island.

He averaged 10.2 points and 8.1 rebounds as a freshman with the Rams, but his career ended when he was arrested and charged with two counts of video voyeurism in March 2012.

He pleaded not guilty to the charge of putting two acts of sex with a pair of women online. While the sex acts were consensual, the posting of them online was not.

A statement issued by John E. MacDonald, a Providence lawyer representing Holton after he had been arraigned, said the player did not post the images.

“Jonathan Holton did not post any graphic images on his Facebook account nor did he email or forward these images to others. An unauthorized third party accessed Mr. Holton’s account without his consent and maliciously sent these images under his name. Mr. Holton is truly sorry for the pain and embarrassment that these actions have caused,” the statement said.

An affidavit said the videos were posted on Facebook and forwarded to about 30 people.

The robbery charge out of Miami, which is Holton’s home, was in connection with the laptop that was confiscated during the investigation, according to published reports.

The disposition of the cases was not found online, and apparently WVU has told him it will honor his commitment if all his legal obligations are taken care of by the time he enrolls.

He initially committed to Richard Pitino Jr. at Florida International but reopened his recruitment after Pitino took the head coaching job at Minnesota.

“I chose West Virginia because it was the best spot for me in that they needed a guy with energy who can rebound and score right away,” Holton told SNY.tv. “I have a little experience under my belt. I averaged 19 points and 18 rebounds last year. I’m a huge fan of Coach (Bob) Huggins, how he runs his program, and I feel he can help me get to the next level where I want to go.”

Huggins did not return a call but did text that he would hopefully be able to talk about the situation tomorrow.

Coming off his first losing season since his first year as a college coach, Huggins has been in a rebuilding mode, especially as three players — Aaron Brown, Volodymyr Gerun and Jabarie Hinds — opted to transfer at the end of the season.

Huggins already has four highly rated freshman recruits coming in next season — Devin Williams, Elijah Macon, Brandon Watkins and Nathan Adrian.

Email Bob Hertzel at bhertzel@hotmail.com or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.