Rising star Jonah Bolden's debut professional season has come to an unusual end after helping FMP Belgrade qualify for the Serbian SuperLeague Grand Final.
Bolden played a starring role in upsetting cross-town rivals Partizan Belgrade in the semifinals, only to be signed by their grand final opponent, and 2017 EuroLeague side Crvena Zvezda on the eve of playing off against each other for the 2017 championship.
As reported by Olgun Uluc of Fox Sports, Crvena Zvezda who owns FMP Belgrade was suspected to have controlled Bolden's signing to FMP with a view to the 2018 EuroLeague season if he was unable to be drafted to the NBA. While this has turned into reality, doing so on the eve of playing against each other is somewhat bizarre. Without Bolden, Crvena Zvezda smashed FMP 94-66 in game 1 of the grand final series.
Following the lucrative 2 year deal being completed, Bolden departed for the US as he prepares for the 2017 NBA Draft. His first reported pre-draft workout is set to be in Los Angeles this weekend.
After leaving UCLA early to pursue his career in Europe, Bolden enjoyed a stellar season with FMP in which he was named the Adriatic League's Top Prospect. He averaged an impressive 12.9 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists a game during the season, reaffirming his readiness for the big stage.
Bolden's draft stock has continued to rise throughout the year, and his presence at workouts could well determine his chances of pushing his way into the first round. His versatility is likely to be his greatest drawcard for NBA front offices. Not only is Bolden a capable shooter –he made nearly 40% of his threes with FMP– he also has NBA range, he also saw time at the power forward spot in Europe, which will undoubtedly serve him well.
While Bolden's NBA credentials are hard to argue against, he now also has the added security of a 2 year deal with a respected EuroLeague club.