So March Madness has officially began, the Mavs still cannot attend the dance, so it is not too early to look at what the Mavs will have for next season. I am already convinced that my bracket is ruined.
You should have finally accepted the fact that the NCAA will not just let CJ Carter and Mike Rostampour get another year of eligibility for the chance to play in the Summit League and NCAA Tournaments, but hey wouldn’t be cool if Jason Mims just kind of let Carter play on the soccer team for the opportunity for post season? Or if Bob Herold let Carter play as a pinch runner for the baseball team for his 5th year of eligibility? I have no idea if Carter is even capable of doing those things, but you would be interested to see what it would be like.
So Tra-Deon Hollins, a 6’2″ guard coming to UNO from the Junior College ranks, played high school basketball at Omaha Central, where he was a part of four state titles, with the likes of Tre’Shawn Thurman and Georgetown/Louisville forward Akoy Agau. Is it Tra-Deon, or is it TraDeon? I have seen both. I am going to need help from Dale Doback on this whole Pan/Pam situation. That is a Step Brothers reference. Anyway, Hollins has the chance to be an immediate impact on this basketball team, as most junior college transfers do coming into mid-major teams.
Whenever I present my wife with a good news/bad news situation she always wants the bad news first, so I will throw the bad at you before the good. It is not really all that bad, but as a sports fan you have the have a small amount of worry. Hollins only played 9 games at Chipola College this past season before he was dismissed from the team for disciplinary reasons.
That raises your eyebrow with a small amount of concern as a sports fan. You see it a lot in college sports, or even in professional sports, of someone getting in a small amount of trouble, but it keeps escalating into more and more until that player never plays. You obviously hope it is nothing, and it is something that the player can learn from and become a stronger person and player. Sports give that opportunity for some people to find redemption a little faster.
Here is a quote from the Omaha World Herald from Hollins: It just made me a better man today. It opened my eyes and made me more wise, and it taught me a lot about decisions and how much that can take a toll on you.
I do not know what happened with Hollins, nor do I really care as it is not really any of my business, but I think that is a great quote from him. Someone gets in a little trouble and you ask for them to own up to it. I hate when I hear someone get in trouble and their immediate go to comment it “yeah, but it was all some bullshit.” Sports (and life) is all about decision making, you know aside from athleticism and whatnot, so to have that character on the team that knows how important decision making is, that is a great addition to the team. If you had a “yeah, but it was all some bullshit” guy on the team, you would need to worry a little more. He could become a distraction by doing stupid crap, like accidentally stealing seafood from a supermarket. I know a guy was a “yeah, but was all some bullshit” guy. He got in trouble, went on to play junior college basketball, quit basketball after getting in trouble a few more times, and the last I heard he is a drug dealer. So yeah, do not be that guy, learn, move on, and grow.
Okay, so now onto the good. 13.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg (that is not role playing games), 6.6 apg, 61.5 FG%, 42.9 3pt%, 75 FT%, and 4.6 steals per game in those 9 games. The season before at Central Community College: 17.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 5.3 apg, 47.8 FG%, 37.2 3pt%, 69.9 FT%, and 4.1 steals per game. Certainly sounds like a guy that can do a little bit of everything.
What is more shocking is that in the Omaha World Herald, he said that he was a defensive player. Okay, yeah, now I do not know what to do with myself. UNO’s defense was not very good last year, last in the league in points allowed, and near the bottom in defensive shooting percentage. The offense was like Oregon football, but the defense was like Omaha Northwest football. Are they still bad? There were not very good when I was in high school. So when you have a guy that sounds like a great scorer on paper, but out loud is completely committed to defense, you are completely freaking excited. I am just imagining a team coming down the court and trying to get the ball past Hollins and Devin Patterson. Then when they do, they have to deal with Thurman’s length and shot blocking ability, and then if they can get a shot up they have to deal with Jake White’s rebounding ability. You just got like super pumped about that, right?
One thing that worries me though is the dying of the hair to blonde? I remember seeing a bunch of pictures in the Omaha World Herald in 2013 of the Omaha Central basketball team and it seemed like a bulk of the team dyed their hair blonde. It is cool to have a little unity like that. Like when a football team all shaves their heads, or when the Boston Celtics starters in 2007-2008 all shaved their heads at the beginning of the season. But I hope this blonde head thing does not catch on for the UNO Mavericks basketball team. I do not know if I could concentrate on a game if Jake White, Rylan Murry, and Kyler Erickson went all Slim Shady.
So we are going to add Hollins to a back court of Patterson, Marcus Tyus, Tim Smallwood, Kyler Erickson, Devin Newsome, and incoming freshman JT Gibson. Sounds like a good back court committee. The back court is going to need to come up huge with South Dakota State returning Deondre Parks, Jake Bittle, and George Marshall. That is a back court that is going to be dangerous.
I remember watching the 2013 Nebraska high school state championship game on television. I was watching to see what Nick Billingsley was like, who was at the time committed to UNO. I remember thinking that Hollins was incredibly fast and a big piece of energy for the Eagles. Was he the best player? I do not know, that team was freaking stacked. I said a few times throughout the 2014-2015 season that the Mavericks lacked a high energy guard off the bench. Tyus was that high energy guy off the bench in 2013-2014, and Alex Phillips and Caleb Steffensmeier both had their moments in that role, but no one was really doing that for the Mavs this past season. Not saying that Tim Smallwood, Devin Newsome, or Kyler Erickson were bad, but not of them were that unstoppable piece of energy off the bench. Erickson became that toward the end of the season, but none of them were that Nate Robinson or Jamal Crawford type of energy. Hollins seems to have what it takes to be that much needed chess piece.
Hollins is (clearly) an Omaha guy, and he seems to have a sense of pride to represent the city. You want those guys mixed in on your team. Even Kansas finds a few dudes from Lawrence for that representation. I was reading something yesterday, I already forgot the subject of the article, but it was basically stating that teams cannot get by with the one trick ponies anymore. The guys who just stand in the corner and take threes are not very important. Teams need the guys that can do a little bit of everything, and we totally got that in Hollins.
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