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2021-2022 Player Preview: Rasir Bolton

Bolton is coming into a roster with a loaded amount of backcourt talent

NCAA Basketball: Iowa State at Baylor Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

Rasir Bolton is one of the many grad transfers that have decided to take their talents to Spokane. He definitely made an exceptional decision in joining the Gonzaga Bulldogs.

Bolton is no stranger when it comes to moving to different schools. In high school and for one postgraduate year in the state of Virginia and West Virginia, he played at five different institutions. One of those was Huntington Prep who has a very strong basketball program that produced former #1 NBA draft pick, Andrew Wiggins, and one of Gonzaga’s very own, Josh Perkins.

It was no different when it came to Rasir’s college ball. Out of high school, he committed to Penn State. During his freshman season in the 2018-2019 campaign, he played in all 32 games while averaging 11.6 PPG, 1.5 APG, and 2.0 RPG on a shooting split of 38.3%/36.1%/87.6%. This was all in about 27 minutes per game. He was definitely not afraid of the spotlight and being relied on straight out the gate.

After his freshman season, Rasir decided to transfer to Iowa State for his next two seasons after some questionable comments from his previous head coach of the Nittany Lions, Pat Chambers. I don’t blame him at all.

As a sophomore for the Cyclones in 2019-2020, Bolton averaged 14.7 PPG, 3.4 RPG, and 2.8 PPG. In Rasir’s junior year and final season in Ames, he averaged 15.5 PPG, 4.8 RPG, and 3.9 APG. He earned Third Team All-Big 12 honors in 2020-2021.

The biggest reason Rasir wanted to leave Iowa State and join the Zags has to do with winning. That’s something he never really got to experience. Iowa State only put together a 14-42 record from 2019-2021. I’m pretty sure he’ll get a chance of winning a few more games with Gonzaga in the 2021-2022 campaign alone.

So what does Bolton bring to the table? Well, the 6’3”, 185-pound senior is a strong PG who takes care of the rock. A guard that Mark Few can rely on, throw in the fire, and feel comfortable with him controlling the tempo. He attacks the hoop and then some. That’s his favorite way to score. Driving in and finishing close to the rim. Actually, to be exact, 64.6% of his field goals come at the rim. That’s his bread and butter. And what comes along with that? Drawing fouls. He lives at the line as he drew 4.5 fouls per 40 minutes last season. Rasir’s pretty effective from there too, shooting over 84% at the charity stripe during his past two seasons with Iowa State.

Now, everyone has their flaws. He’s not the most reliable three-point shooter. Bolton’s known for stepping out on the perimeter and hitting a big one every once in a while but don’t bet on it. Last season, he had a career-low from three-point land at 31.4%. Lucky for him, Fewie isn’t looking for that out of him. Rasir will fit perfectly in the fast-paced offense that Gonzaga fans know and love.

The biggest question surrounding Rasir is how will his playing time play out under Mark Few? This year’s roster is filled with a ton of skilled guards. Bolton, Andrew Nembhard, Hunter Sallis, Nolan Hickman, Dominick Harris, Julian Strawther. That’s just silly.

Everyone has their takes on who’s going to be in the starting backcourt, how the minutes will be spread out. At the beginning and for most of the season, I picture Rasir to be next off the bench right behind the sixth man, Anton Watson. I feel with both of those player’s experiences at the college level, it would fit very well to play alongside the younger guys in the 2nd unit. Rasir fits the mold as the back-up point guard (right behind Andrew Nembhard).

Welcome to Zag Nation, Rasir! Gonzaga fans and the Kennel will be very pumped to see you in action.

Arden Cravalho is a Gonzaga University graduate from the Bay Area... Follow him on Twitter @a_cravalho