According to multiple outlets, West Virginia redshirt junior guard James “Beetle” Bolden has left the team. Beetle was not in attendance as the Mountaineers beat Iowa State Wednesday night inside the WVU Coliseum.
There’s been no official word from head coach Bob Huggins, the athletic department or Bolden himself, so we are left to speculate on exactly why Beetle has abandoned the team.
During his last two years in Morgantown, Bolden role was coming off the bench and providing a spark for the Mountaineers. Whether it was hustling back on defense to take a charge or burying a three, he provided a lot of excitement with his heart.
Bolden came into the season expected to be one of the leaders and a focal point of the Mountaineer offense. His off-season was full of recovery but was healthy by the start of practice in October. However, Beetle sprained some ligaments in his shooting hand (left) from getting his hand caught in a jersey in practice.
Beetle missed practices due to the injury and then, had an issue with his elbow. Being that it was his left elbow, along with his hand injury, his production fell off from last season.
Coming into the season, Bolden was the programs three-point percentage leader at 41.9% and was 41.1% last year from behind the arc. He was 30-86 (34.9%) this season until his season was cut short after a high ankle sprain during the Tennessee game on January 26th.
Bolden will be eligible as a grad transfer once he receives his degree in May. There is no indication on where Beetle will be finishing his collegiate career but as freshmen Jordan McCabe and junior Jermaine Haley have continued to improve the last few weeks, Beetle was looking at a future with the probability of a career coming off the bench and maybe want to be “the guy” in another program.
This departure comes as a surprise, considering time and time again Beetle showed his toughness and willingness to sacrifice personal gain for a win.