Staff Photo: John Bohn Chris Bolden is a senior basketball player with North Gwinnett High School. Bolden will play basketball for Georgia Tech next season.
Watching Georgia Tech struggle during its 54-36 loss to Miami in the Atlantic Coast Conference last weekend, North Gwinnett basketball star and soon-to-be Yellow Jackets guard Chris Bolden was filled with conflicting emotions.
On one hand it was difficult for the 6-foot-2 senior to watch his future teammates struggle to score points.
On the other, he was comforted by the thought that he will soon have a chance to help them do something about it.
"I'm just going to work hard at whatever they want me to do," Bolden said of his future for coach Brian Gregory at Tech. "I know I'll have to shoot the ball. That's what they recruited me for."
And Bolden did that very well all season, averaging 19.9 points per game -- second to South Gwinnett's Simeon Dennis for the Gwinnett County lead by just a tenth of a point.
Add in the 4.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.7 steals per game he posted per game for the Bulldogs and Jackets fans have every reason to be excited about seeing him in a Tech uniform in the fall.
Bolden is equally excited about the idea of getting started at Tech, especially as part of a highly regarded recruiting class that includes fellow Georgians Robert Carter of Shiloh and Marcus Hunt of North Clayton.
"I don't think about individually me helping (Tech)," Bolden said. "I think more about everybody being on the same team and helping out. ... With Robert Carter and Marcus Hunt, I feel like we'll mesh together great. Our games are similar, but we all can bring something different to Georgia Tech.
'"I can just visualize Marcus driving (to the basket) and dishing off and Robert getting rebounds and throwing it in."
It isn't hard to visualize Bolden finding ways to score from every conceivable location on the floor, be it on a long-range jumper, driving to the basket and either going in for the layup or pulling up for the mid-range jumper or getting out on the fastbreak to finish in transition.
He did plenty of each method of scoring throughout the season, but especially down the stretch when North (21-10, No. 7 state ranking) needed him the most.
While Bolden spent much of the first two-plus months of the season finding his role on the team, he became the obvious go-to guy for the Bulldogs in the final weeks of the regular season and into the Region 7-AAAAA and state tournaments.
He scored at least 23 points in six of his last nine games, averring 22.8 points per contest over the stretch, including two 30-point efforts and three more of 27 points or more.
It is a role Bolden was not hesitant to assume.
"We played great team ball to start the season," Bolden said. "But we needed somebody to step up and make plays (in the clutch), and I felt like I had to be the guy to do it."