2022-23 Player Preview: Rasir Bolton

Rasir Bolton was the first to test Zags NBA draft Waters to announce his return to the Bulldog, with his announcement being closely followed by Julian Strother and Drew Tim. This series of announcements, starting with Bolton, completely changed Gonzaga’s look for the holiday season and bolstered the team’s aspirations for the 2022-23 championship.

Bolton’s decision to move to Gonzaga last season was a boon to both the basketball program and, more importantly, to the greater Spokane community. The 6’3″ goalkeeper transitioned seamlessly into the team and started all 32 matches alongside Andrew Nymbard in the backcourt. After enduring losing campaigns on flawed teams in Penn State and IowaBolton seemed as active in the game for Gonzaga as he won as many games in his first season with Zaggs (28) as he did in his previous three seasons combined.

Suddenly playing with the freedom of attacking Mark Vue and alongside the most talented teammates of his career, Bolton scored the best shooting numbers of his career on (55.7%) and off the arc (46%) while attempting his second most 3sec. In the list just behind the struther. Bolton produced his lowest point average of his college career, but the quality and efficient nature of his production stands out and he’ll be the first to tell you that it was his best season yet.

His shooting, pace, and understanding of delay time made him well suited last year, and Bolton’s return for a fifth college season (thanks to the eligibility waiver granted to athletes due to a shortened 2020-21 COVID season) and a second with Gonzaga providing a vital presence for the veteran (115 games with 91 starts) into a talented backyard no devoid of question marks.

With Nembhard moving to Indiana PacersBolton will team up with Dominic Harris who suffered a second season loss to a foot injury that required surgery, second husband of Noel Hickman and Hunter Salles who have shown flashes of their formidable talent throughout the year but have not been relied upon in the main roles, and Malachi Smith transfer. While Smith is the only new face and the guards as a whole are a mature and focused group, the roles and group dynamics will be different and the offense will lose Nymbard’s steady hand that has proven to be one of the best net points. guards in the country. Bolton alone won’t make up for this loss, but he can certainly help Hickman evolve into the role as he discovers how to best play alongside the Gonzaga combo rangers.

When Gonzaga decided to pursue Bolton as a transitional, the staff conducted a serious review of his makeup to ensure that it fit the ethics of the program. Bolton’s technical staff was sold out, but as it turned out, it was even better than advertised.

Just as Bolton’s addition to Gonzaga on the field last season was, perhaps his presence off the field was even more impactful. Bolton turns first to get involved with his community, regularly using his spare time to prepare and distribute food and backpacks to the homeless population of Spokane, while also building meaningful relationships with many people who may never encounter a Gonzaga basketball player.

In just one year, Bolton proved to be a very positive addition to Gonzaga and Spokane. His appearance might be better.