Frank Martin dipped into the underclassman transfer market Saturday to fill up anther spot on his roster with a commitment from 6-4 Jair Bolden, a Brooklyn native who played the past two seasons at George Washington. Bolden will have to sit out the coming season leaving him two to play for the Gamecocks.
Bolden took an official visit to USC Friday and Saturday. He also visited Seton Hall and San Diego after deciding to transfer in early April. A friend of his knew Martin thru basketball circles and and help get the process started that eventually led to his pledge.
“Coach Martin started calling me in early May and we started opening up the dialogue and had open communication then,” Bolden said. “Once the scholarships opened up I went and took a visit and I loved it. I love the winning culture that is at South Carolina. I love the fact that so many guys that played in the program are back and helping current players who are trying to achieve the same goals that some of those guys did.”
Bolden added that the overall culture Martin has developed in his program appealed to him as well.
“Just the family feel in general,” he said. “I feel like that’s very rare in college. Coach Frank Martin, he does a great job in really making it a family atmosphere. I feel like I will get better. He will push me and the players around me will push me and I just felt like it was a great opportunity for me.”
Bolden worked his way into a starting role at GW by midway thru his freshman season. Last season he started 24 of 32 games and averaged 11 points and 3 rebounds per game while leading the team with 98 assists. He shot 37% from the floor, 32% from three and 68% from the line. Now he will have to work his way into a brand new system.
“I think it will mesh very well,” Bolden said. “I’m tough. I love playing defense. I love winning. I think my offensive skill set works well within what we’re trying to do especially playing inside out with big time big men. I feel like my shooting and my size will be able to help and I think I’ll fit in nicely.”
Bolden will have a full season to work his way into Martin’s scheme. The idea of watching games from the bench for a season isn’t something that bothers him.
“I’m actually excited to sit out because it’s going to give me the opportunity to really get to know his style of coaching and get to know the school as a whole, just understand the what the culture is more than I already do,” Bolden said. “I’m an older guy and I know we have a lot of younger guys coming in so I’m just going to try to be a leader for the team and bring stuff to the team, leadership and toughness in practice and try to push those guys. I know me pushing them and them pushing me and we’re all just going to get better. Iron sharpens iron.”
Bolden attended high school in Pennsylvania. Some of his other offers when he signed with GW in November of 2015 included Hofstra, James Madison and LaSalle.