TUSCALOOSA, Ala. –Alabama men’s basketball head coach Nate Oats officially announced two additions to the Crimson Tide’s 2019 signing class on Friday. The newest members of the Alabama men’s basketball program include graduate transfer James “Beetle” Bolden (Covington, Ky./West Virginia) and freshman Raymond Hawkins (Oakland, Calif./Findlay [Nev.] Prep), who will both be able to suit up for the 2019-20 campaign.
The duo joins fall signees: Forward Juwan Gary (Charlotte, N.C/West Charlotte) and guards Jaylen Forbes (Florence, Miss./Florence) and Jaden Shackelford (Hesperia, Ca./Hesperia), who all signed with the Tide last November.
JAMES “BEETLE” BOLDEN | GUARD | 6-0 | 175 | COVINGTON, KY. (WEST VIRGINIA/HOLMES)
Bolden joins the Crimson Tide after playing in 82 career games during his three seasons at West Virginia under head coach Bob Huggins … as a junior in 2018-19, Bolden was limited to just 18 games, making 12 starts, before an ankle injury sidelined him for the final 16 contests … averaged 12.2 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game as a redshirt junior last season … his highlight of the year came when he scored 31 points on 10-of-17 shooting from the field against Oklahoma State (1/12/19), all of which were career-high marks … had 29 double-digit scoring games in the past two seasons with all four of his 20-plus point scoring outputs coming during the 2018-19 season …as a sophomore in 2017-18, he played in all 37 games, making three starts, and averaged 8.7 points, 1.9 rebounds and 17.2 minutes per game while shooting 42.9 percent from the field, 41.1 percent from three and 83.7 percent from the free throw line … a two-time member of the Academic All-Big 12 Second Team in 2017 and 2018 … was one of the top prep players in the country coming out of Holmes High School in Cincinnati, Ohio … a three-time First Team All-State honoree by the Louisville Courier-Journal and Lexington Herald-Leader … was the Northern Kentucky Boys’ Basketball Coaches Association and the Cincinnati Enquirer Player of the Year as a junior and senior … finished his high school career with with 2,024 points, 464 rebounds, 402 assists and 227 steals.
“Beetle Bolden gives us an experienced guard who has played in a lot of big games over the course of his career,” Oats said. “He is a terrific three-point shooter, and we felt like we needed to add another shooter to roster. That will give our current guys more space on the floor in order to better execute our offense. Beetle is a combo guard, so he is someone I expect to spell Kira (Lewis) at the point guard position as well. We played against West Virginia last year when I was at Buffalo, and he was someone who stuck out to me. His toughness and experience will be a great addition to our roster, as well. We would like to welcome Beetle and his family to Tuscaloosa.”
RAYMOND HAWKINS | CENTER | 6-9 | 225 | OAKLAND, CALIF. (FINDLEY (NEV.) PREP)
Hawkins, a four-star signee by 247Sports.com, was head coach Nate Oats’ first signee after being named head coach at The University of Alabama … ranked by 247 as site’s the 89th overall player in the nation and No. 2 player in the state of Nevada … also a three-star recruit according to Rivals and ESPN … played one season at Findlay Prep under head coach Rodney Haddix … in his lone season at Findlay Prep, he averaged 10.7 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game in 18 contests, while shooting 60 percent from the field … prior to his one year at Findlay Prep, Hawkins played at Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland, Calif., under head coach Lou Richie … as a junior, he averaged 15.3 points, 9.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.1 blocks per game helping lead O’Dowd to a final record of 27-6 and a 10-0 mark in league play … helped O’Dowd reach the 2018 Northern California Open Division championship game … chose Alabama over Arizona State, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas State and Mississippi State, among others.
“Ray gives us a big man that’s skilled in multiple areas and fits our system very well,” Oats said. “He will give us some interior depth and has a huge upside. Ray is a big, strong, physical presence who can handle the ball and play inside-outside. We’ve targeted him since I was at Buffalo, because we felt like he was a great fit. He is a terrific young man, and we have really enjoyed getting to know him and his family throughout the recruiting process. We look forward to having him join our program.”
The Crimson Tide’s 2019 signing class that currently consists of Forbes, Gary, Hawkins and Shackelford is ranked No. 17 in the nation and No. 4 in the Southeastern Conference, according to 247Sports.com. Graduate transfers do not factor in to the national recruiting team ranking. The signing period will end on May 15.