Vermont Academy coach talks Emmitt Holt

In his short time as a walk-on forward at Minnesota a decade ago, Alex Popp saw for himself the premium placed on rebounding in the Big Ten.

He saw how it could require a higher caliber of player, and how it was often the difference between beating the big boys of the league and falling short.

So, Popp, the current Vermont Academy basketball coach, doesn’t think twice about Emmitt Holt’s ability to transition to the Big Ten at Indiana.

Holt committed to IU on Wednesday morning, becoming the latest piece to the Hoosiers’ 2014 class. He will take the program’s final available scholarship and be ready for the upcoming season. The 6-foot-7 Holt has a 7-foot-3 wingspan, wears a size 18 shoe and figures to be another ready-to-use addition to Indiana’s 2014-15 frontcourt.

“He brings an elite level of rebounding to the table,” Popp said. “He shoots a high field goal percentage, he scores around the basket and has a nice touch. The upside is there. While he might be undersized for the typical Indiana University power forward, he has a high ceiling because he’s still growing into his body.”

Holt averaged 19.8 points, 14.6 rebounds and five blocks as a senior at Webster Schroeder High School in Webster, N.Y. He planned to reclassify to the 2015 recruiting class and spend a year of prep school at Vermont Academy.

Then Indiana came calling.

Under the efforts of new IU assistant coach Chuck Martin, the Hoosiers made the winning overture. Martin has extensive ties to the East Coast and had a prior relationship with Popp, along with Holt’s AAU team Albany City Rocks.

Holt went to Twitter with the news of his commitment on Wednesday morning.

“My parents always told me that the worst feeling in life is to look back and say ‘I wonder’ because once doors close it’s rare they are reopened,” Holt tweeted. “Today I would like to announce that I have committed to Indiana University.”

According to Rivals.com, Holt also had offers from Vermont, Duquesne, Hofstra, Towson, Fairfield and Drexel. Popp contends that had Holt spent the upcoming season playing with his program in the competitive New England Preparatory School Athletic Council, he would have had over 25 high-major offers.

“He knew in his heart he was being under-recruited,” Popp said. “…Emmitt was going to explode. Indiana was smart to take him before that happened. We’re obviously a bit sad it’s not going to work out for us, but that’s kind of part of the job.”

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