Commentary: Jeremy Hollowell has proven the doubters wrong

INDIANAPOLIS — After scoring 28 points Friday night to lead Indiana Elite Team Indiana into the semifinals of the adidas Invitational, Jeremy Hollowell went about his routine.

He took off his ankle brace, then answered reporters’ questions for a few minutes. When that was over he picked up his Baltimore Orioles cap – which matches the Indiana Elite orange – and put it on backwards.

Then he left, with nary a smile and most certainly not a laugh. Hollowell and his teammates had stared down one of the best teams in the field, one with three prospects ranked even higher than themselves, and gone a long ways towards removing the underachieving reputation attached to them after a few quick tournament exits.

Still, the most Hollowell could force out was a slight grin. To express emotion, from the joys of life to the anger of defeat, is just not the Indiana verbal commit’s way.

“He’s always just got that look on his face,” present and future teammate Yogi Ferrell said. “He doesn’t smile or nothing. He’s just a laid-back kind of guy, on and off the court.”

Because of that, Hollowell’s inconsistent play became magnified; it was seen by some, including me, as a sign of not caring, and not perhaps of a young player just finding his way.

This week has confirmed that I was wrong. I thought of Hollowell as a boom-or-bust prospect when he committed to Indiana in March; he could make multiple All-Big Ten teams or transfer somewhere else, and I was sure it was one of the two.

But Hollowell has averaged 22.5 points through six games, all against high-level competition. He scored 29 points against No. 1 prospect Shabazz Muhammad and Dream Vision in game 1; then led the team to wins against Connecticut Basketball Club and Atlanta Celtics to win the super-est of the super pools.

In Friday’s morning game, Hollowell went head-to-head with elite scorer Gabe York. York scored 46, but Hollowell had 29; and he made his shots late in the game, as Indiana Elite pulled out the win.

He also tried to take a charge. Rather uneventful, except for when the driving opponent is 6-foot-9, 285-pound Arik Armstead — the top offensive tackle prospect in the country. Told who it was, Hollowell’s expression was more concern than anything else, by the way.

In the third and final game of the day, Hollowell scored 11 of Indiana Elite’s first 15 points against the Houston Defenders. Early in the second half, Hollowell keyed an 11-0 run with three 3-pointers.

The last was from five feet behind the 3-point line. Hollowell admitted that was a heat check.

“Just see if it went in,” Hollowell said.

Of his 17 second-half points, 15 came on 3-pointers (four behind the line, one old-fashioned) and then two free throws to help seal the win.

“He’s different,” Ferrell said. “He’s made a lot of deep 3s. His shot has gotten a lot better and the way he opens it up is to post-up down low.”

With a pro-Indiana crowd filling the stands at North Central, Hollowell showed what he can be as a Hoosier. Once an Evan Turner clone, Hollowell has filled out and is no longer a 6-foot-7 guy trying to play point guard.

Instead he’s an elite scorer, a 6-foot-7 small forward who can fill up a scorebook in a variety of ways. And not very many loafers bother to take charges or dive for loose balls with the frequent of Hollowell.

“I don’t know if you remember Mike Woodson play,” Indiana Elite coach Mark Adams said. “He never looked like he was breaking a sweat, but he was a damn great player. When you look at Hollowell and a lot of people say, ‘Oh he doesn’t look he’s playing hard.’ That’s (expletive).”

If Indiana Elite wins a 9:45 a.m. semifinal game today, it will play in the 17U final at 2 p.m. The game will be nationally televised on CBS College Sports.

The notion of playing on television earned a larger-than-usual grin from Hollowell, but still not a smile.

It’s just not his way, even if it makes him more difficult to understand.

“It’s the last AAU,” Hollowell said. “I am just trying to play every game my hardest and try to win every game. To go out with a bang.”

 

5 comments

  1. Video: Team Indiana during IndyBall
    4 comments by Hugh Kellenberger | Monday, April 11, 2011 – 1:23 pm EDT

    PopcornBlizzard
    Monday, April 11, 2011 – 2:09 PM EDT

    Hallowell(No. 33) looks the most naturally skilled. Nice size and versatility..The way he moves on the basketball court reminds me a lot of Jamarcus Ellis.

    Yes! Though it took 3 months, I’m elated to see Hugh concurring with my assessment of Jeremy Hollowell. Keep the faith in Remy Abell. Remy gonna surprise.

  2. “Because of that, Hollowell’s inconsistent play became magnified; it was seen by some, including me, as a sign of not caring,…[]…I was wrong….”

    Impressive.

  3. Those are nice comments and admissions from Hugh. I wonder where they were when many on this blog have accused Watford the same laziness. Maybe he didn’t disagree with their assessment a believes something different than his rehabilitated view of Hollowell.

    “I don’t know if you remember Mike Woodson play,” Indiana Elite coach Mark Adams said. “He never looked like he was breaking a sweat, but he was a damn great player. When you look at Hollowell and a lot of people say, ‘Oh he doesn’t look he’s playing hard.’ That’s (expletive).”

    I have always felt bloggers making claims of Watford lacking effort are also full of sh** . Christian plays with just as much energy(if not more) his teammates. He plays in the style of Woodson, Jamarcus Ellis, Hollowell, and many others past and present that are smooth enough in their games to often hide the effort always given.

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