- Tough defender, can guard all positions due to size and mobility
- Athleticism allows him to finish strong over bigger defenders
- Competent ball handling and passing allows him to play from the perimeter
- Consistent long range shooting
- Unconventional path may raise questions about his loyalty
- Needs to continue becoming a better finisher on layups around the basket
- Poor free throw shooting numbers
NBA projection: A player who quite possibly may be the most experienced, yet undervalued prospect in this year’s draft. The Aussie has had played for his junior national team, American prep schools, UCLA, and a year of professional basketball in one of the toughest leagues outside of the NBA. His father was also a professional basketball player. Bolden offers so much versatility as a guy who can guard any position on the floor while at the same time being a perimeter and paint threat on the offensive end. His unique blend of size, athleticism, and ball handling skills is hard to find and really deserves more attention.
Bolden decided it was in his best interest to leave UCLA after determining that he was not being utilized correctly by his coaches. After choosing to take the professional route, instead of transferring, he signed in Serbia with Beograd and an immediate impact. He recorded eight double-doubles on the season. His team will be competing in the playoffs of the Serbian League into June.
Key Statistics: 25 GP, 27.7 MPG, 12.9 PPG, 51% 2P, 42% 3P, 59% FT, 7.2 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.0 SPG, 1.0 BPG, 2.1 TPG, (Adriatic League); 8 GP, 24.8 MPG, 10.6 PPG, 58% 2P, 32% 3P, 65% FT, 7.5 RPG, 1.3 APG, 2.3 SPG, 1.0 BPG, 1.4 TPG, (Serbian KLS)
Career Highlights: Selected as the ABA League’s 2016-17 Top Prospect after a vote by the coaches, fans and league commission, capturing 39 percent of the vote. Finished as the ABA’s fourth-leading rebounder and 17th leading scorer during the regular season. Attended UCLA from 2014-16. As a high school senior in the U.S., was ranked the No. 25 prospect of his class by Scout.com, 32 by Rivals.com, and 69 by ESPN.com.
Cool Statistic: Bolden earned the Adriatic League’s Top Prospect Award this season. That's an honor that puts him in solid company with the only other past recipients being Dario Saric, Nikola Jokic, and future Boston Celtic Ante Zizic.
Reminds me of: Aaron Gordon
What Insiders Say
Ben Stram, FanRagSports.com
“Bolden, now 21, is draft-eligible this year and should continue to climb up draft boards if he can continue his solid play overseas. His combination of versatility, shooting ability, athleticism and NBA size give him a great base of skills to work with moving forward. If he can perform well in the workouts leading up to the draft, it’s possible Bolden is drafted with a top-40 pick and could develop into a solid building block moving forward even as a second round pick.”
David Hein, Ridiculous Upside
Bolden is also getting some three-point shooting into his game. He’s hitting 38 percent from long range. He nailed four treys in a game against Buducnost in late November and had perhaps his best game as a professional on Christmas Day, scoring 14 points - the sixth time in the last seven games in double digits - to go with 10 rebounds - for his second double-double - three assists, three steals and four blocks. That game came against rival Belgrade club Mega Leks, which includes Boston Celtics second round draft pick Rade Zagorac and two projected draft picks for 2017 in Kostja Mushidi and Alpha Kaba.
Carl Berman and Chris Denker are Managing Partners of NetScouts Basketball, ‘The International Basketball Connection.’ You can follow NetScouts Basketball on Twitter, or follow Chris and Carl. Thanks to Ronnie Levi of our staff for his work on these profiles.