Even though the July live recruiting periods are in full swing, Rasir Bolton decided that now was the time to announce his commitment to Penn State.
Having already narrowed his list down to four schools -- Pitt, Penn State, Saint Joseph’s, and VCU -- all of which had already offered him several months prior, Bolton decided to discuss his options with his family and settle with one school.
“Me and my family sat down, went over the list of schools that I was looking at, and Penn State just came out on top and looked to be the best fit for me,” said Bolton, who will be a senior at Huntington Prep (W.Va.) this fall. “Academically, it’s great, great academic history, me and coach [Pat] Chambers have a great relationship, we connected really well, and just the opportunity to play in a Power 5 conference and come in and make an impact.”
Bolton is the second member of Nittany Lions’ 2018 class, joining Gonzaga College HS wing Myles Dread, who committed to the program last summer.
The 6-foot-2, 175-pound point guard looks to bring his up-tempo style of play to PSU’s backcourt, which next fall will feature the likes of then-junior Tony Carr, sophomore Jamari Wheeler, and Bolton as lead guards, with Dread and senior Josh Reaves on the wing.
Chambers, now entering his seventh season as Penn State’s head coach, first contacted Bolton last season, and the two have been talking regularly ever since. The Nittany Lions extended an offer last August, and Bolton has visited the campus twice since then, once to see a football game and then last month to acquaint himself with the players.
A big draw for Bolton was the ability to help build up a Penn State program that has been far from a traditional powerhouse on the court.
The Nittany Lions, who finished 15-18 last season (6-12 Big Ten), have made just four NCAA appearances since 1965, and have eclipsed 20 wins just once since 2001; Bolton wants to play a part in changing that.
“Everybody’s working hard, working for the same goal. Nothing’s really given, so everything they have to take and earn, and I definitely want to be a part of that culture,” he said. “I felt like I would definitely want to be on the court, fighting with these guys, trying to win a Big Ten championship and make it to a Final Four.”
Playing for powerhouse Huntington Prep plus Team Loaded (Va.) on the Adidas Gauntlet Circuit, Bolton knows a thing or two about what success looks like. Since going 2-2 at the Adidas Gauntlet Finale in Spartanburg, S.C., Team Loaded hasn’t lost a game, going 3-0 in a tournament in Milwaukee and 5-0 in one in Richmond; during the spring, Bolton is averaging 9.7 ppg, 2.5 rpg, and 2.3 apg over 12 Adidas Gauntlet games.
The Petersburg, Va. native is versatile guard, adept at playmaking in the lane and holding his own on ‘D,’ and although he and Carr both see themselves as point guards, Bolton thinks they’ll be able to share the rock and divvy up their duties just fine.
“I can play a little off the ball, he can play a little off the ball, so we just really talk, he’ll guide me through some things and help me because he’ll be a junior when I get there,” Bolton said. “He’ll definitely be able to teach me things and guide me through stuff that he went through as a freshman.”
In the 12 months before he officially arrives at Penn State, Bolton will continue working on his game, focusing on decision-making, efficiency, and strength. You’ll certainly be able to catch him in the weight room during his free time.
“When I’m not in the gym I’m usually going to the park or something and playing basketball with my friends,” he said. “Basketball kind of never stops.”