Beetle Bolden no longer with WVU

March 9, 2019

CHARLESTON — Cross another name off the West Virginia University men’s basketball roster.As of Thursday morning, junior guard James “Beetle” Bolden was no longer listed among the Mountaineer players. An athletic department spokesperson said Bolden was off the roster, but did not know the particulars concerning his exit.

Bolden is the third in-season departure for WVU’s basketball team in what has been a tumultuous 2018-19 campaign. West Virginia enters its regular-season finale at 4 p.m. Saturday at Oklahoma State at 12-18 on the season and 4-13 in the Big 12. The Mountaineers must beat the Cowboys to avoid finishing last in the conference.

The exits began Feb. 11, when West Virginia announced senior forward Esa Ahmad and junior forward Wes Harris were dismissed from the team for “violation of athletic department policies.” Then, during Wednesday night’s upset of Iowa State at the WVU Coliseum, Bolden was nowhere to be found on the Mountaineer bench.

Bolden entered the season as the Mountaineers’ career leader in 3-point field goal percentage, making 41.9 percent from beyond the arc in his first two years at WVU. This year, he was to climb into the starting lineup to provide maturity at guard following the graduations of Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles Jr. Injuries, however, plagued him throughout the season.

Early injuries to his shooting arm affected his accuracy. At the time he left, he was making just 34.9 percent of his 3-pointers. Then a high-ankle sprain late in the season hampered him to the point that WVU coach Bob Huggins said the guard likely was done for the year.

Bolden ended this season playing in 18 games and starting 12. He averaged 12.2 points per game. He has not played since WVU’s Jan. 26 loss at Tennessee.

Even without Bolden’s experience in the lineup, the Mountaineers have rallied in the final two weeks of the regular season. West Virginia won two of its last three games — a triple-overtime win over Texas Christian and Wednesday’s convincing 90-75 victory over Iowa State.

Huggins has said Bolden was on track to graduate in May and has one year of eligibility remaining, which would allow him to head elsewhere as a graduate transfer.

Bolden is the fourth starter from the opening of the season to go missing from the court. Besides Bolden, Ahmad and Harris, post player Sagaba Konate has not played since the Dec. 8 Pitt game due to a knee injury.