Northern California prospects tend to be overlooked by the media in favor of their counterparts in the southern part of the Golden State. However, after his performance at Reebok's ABCD Camp and Big-Time Tournament, Eli Holman has finally arrived on the national scene.
Despite not appearing in the national Rivals.com Top 150 rising seniors prior to the recent ABCD Camp, Collegehoops.net (CHN) ranked Holman as the ninth best player in camp. CHN's Shawn Siegel also placed Holman on his all-ABCD first-team, joining such well known talents as Kevin Love, OJ Mayo, Bill Walker and Derrick Rose.
That's select company.
So who is Eli Holman? Basketball-wise, the first thing he wants you to know is "defense is my thing." Being a lefty, he has been compared to Bill Russell (more select company) in that Holman's shotblocking and shot-altering ability reminds old-timers of the former Celtic great. Not only does Holman intimidate his position opponent, he anticipates well and adjusts to play excellent help defense when one of his teammates has been beaten on a dribble drive.
Asked to describe the best of his offensive arsenal, Holman replied "My jump hook and 15-footer." Conversely, he says he is working on developing his right hand more as opponents are adjusting and overplaying him to the left.
Holman prefers 32 as his jersey number because that was the number his father wore when he played alongside Curley Neal, Nate Branch and others as a member of the Harlem Globetrotters.
On the recruiting front, Holman plans to take 10 college campus tours (five official and five unofficial) accompanied by his mother. Ultimately, it will be his decision as to which school to sign with but his mother, stepfather and family friend, Lonnie Coleman will all provide input. Coleman, a former college baseball player, works with Holman on his studies and with life in general. "He's like a brother to me," said Holman.
Miami has already offered Holman and Hurricane assistant coach Michael Hunt is remaining in contact. Holman wouldn't mind if Indiana jumped into the mix, plus a number of major Division I schools have begun expressing initial interest as a result of his ABCD Camp performance. All the basketball coaches at Oregon State have expressed admiration for Holman for some time now. Locally, USF head and assistant coaches Jesse Evans and Chris Farr, St. Mary's Randy Bennett and Lamont Smith and George Nessman and Donald Williams from San Jose State are all working to line up either an official or unofficial visit.
Not having any specific preference at this point, Eli has an idea how he will contribute to his college choice. "I want to come in and help a program get to the next level, to help take the team to the NCAA tournament, to win," said Holman.
Best friend and Richmond High teammate, Wendell McKines, is also drawing concerted interest from multiple college recruiters. Will they sign together? "It's too early to tell," said Holman.
Holman missed most of the last high school season at Richmond due to a suspension that resulted from making contact with a referee during a game on December 3. There was much speculation that he might transfer to a different high school or district but Eli plans to return to Richmond High come this fall. A decision will be made in September regarding Holman's basketball playing status.
"I've had no problems this summer and I'm doing what I need to do," reports Holman.
With Rob Collins having moved on to Amador Valley, Richmond High athletic director Roy Rogers has added men's basketball coach to his list of duties.
Doing what he needs to do on and off the court is resulting in an array of choices regarding where Holman will continue his basketball career at the college level.