College of Charleston enters the NCAA Tournament as one of a few mid-major programs with the potential to become the darlings of March Madness.
With a record of 31-3, and ranked as high as No. 18 during the college basketball season, the Cougars have a chance to win their first tournament game since 1997.
And they are hoping to do so with a seventh-year, 24-year-old guard leading the way.
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Dalton Bolon leads Charleston in scoring with 12.3 points per game and in experience, with Thursday’s game against San Diego State being the 155th of his career.
“They just call me ‘Old Man,’” Bolon said. “They say I’m like 30. Really? I’m young for my age.”
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Nicknamed “Psycho D” by his much younger teammates, Bolon is the butt of many jokes, including when he wears his “dad shoes” to help with his sore foot.
“I don’t care what anybody says,” Bolon said. “They see grandpas wearing these things. Like, grandpas are the smartest people on the earth. I don’t know why people don’t take their advice more often. These are so comfortable.”
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Bolon started his career at Division II West Liberty, playing five years before transferring to Charleston.
He has redshirted twice and earned an extra year of eligibility due to COVID-19.
He’ll lead the Cougars on Thursday against the Mountain West champions as Charleston represents the Colonial Athletic Association.
It’s not just Bolon for the Cougars, with five players averaging double-digits per game, and they’re third in the country in bench scoring, per ESPN.
They’ll face a San Diego State squad built on defense, as the Aztecs are 29th in the country in points allowed per game at 63.6.
But Bolon has no interest in his lengthy college career coming to an abrupt end on Thursday.
“Looking for an eighth (year),” Bolon said Wednesday. “If there’s a way I can get an eighth, if you people could tell me how, that would be great.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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