After finally securing one of its most high-profile recruits in recent memory in New Zealand point guard Tai Webster, Nebraska is shifting its focus back down under on a player that could end up even more highly touted when all is said and done.
Though he's still a relatively new name on the American basketball recruiting scene, 2014 Australian forward Jonah Bolden is quickly emerging as one of the most intriguing players in his class. It also just so happens that Nebraska has as strong of a connection with the 6-foot-8 native of Sydney, Australia, and his family as any school around.
While the Huskers might not have the same level of prestige as some of the other big-name programs that have also offered Bolden, they do have a secret weapon that should make them serious contenders to land his services - assistant coach Chris Harriman.
The connection is through Bolden's father, Bruce Bolden, who played at Boise State during the 1980s and then had a 17-year career playing in Australia's NBL professional league before retiring in 2004. It turns out Bruce not only played with Harriman on the NBL's Sydney Kings, the two also lived together for a period of time.
Bruce is handling the bulk of his son's recruiting, so the Huskers are hoping that relationship through Harriman could be nice wildcard in their favor.
Bolden first broke onto the scene stateside while representing Australia at the 2012 Adidas Nations Championships, helping lead Team Australia to a fourth-place finish. A week ago, though, Bolden officially stamped him name on the recruiting map at the 2013 Adidas Nations in Garden Grove, Calif.
Averaging 16.7 points on 65-percent shooting and 7.0 rebounds per game, Bolden caught the eyes of nearly everyone in attendance during the international all-star event. Those numbers came against some of the best competition available, too, as he had 10 points and four rebounds against the United States 2014 squad, which featured five-stars like Jahlil Okafor, KeVaughn Allen, Jaquan Lyle and others.
Bolden's performance over the weekend definitely impressed Rivals.com basketball recruiting analyst Eric Bossi:
"We watched Australian import Jonah Bolden a bit more on Saturday, and he looks to be legit," Bossi wrote. "He likely needs to factor into the class of 2014 rankings, and it's just a matter of how high he ends up. At 6-foot-8, he can really shoot, he has great length and he runs the floor well."
Bolden currently attends Homebush Boys High School in New South Wales, Australia, and recently led his club team (New South Wales Metro) to a second-place finish at the Australian 18U Junior Championships. However, Bolden will soon be moving stateside to spend his senior season at basketball power Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nev. With the chance for much more exposure, his stock should reach completely new heights over the next year.
"I wanted to go to Findlay to develop my game in the next year," Bolden told Rivals.com. "Competition-wise, I wanted to go against guys who are bigger than me and better than me. I want to improve on my ball handling, too.
"I'm more of a perimeter player, so a face-up power forward if I'm a four. I want to keep working to feel comfortable at whatever spot I play."
For now, other schools showing the most interest for Bolden include Michigan, Louisville and LSU. Arizona, Auburn, Boise State, New Mexico, Oregon State, SMU, Saint Mary's and Tulsa are also involved. Bruce is a native of Flint, Mich., and played at the same Northwestern (Mich.) High School as former Wolverine great Glen Rice.