Holt learning the benefits of summer workouts

A year ago, Emmitt Holt didn’t have the benefit of time.

It was a rush to get him enrolled, on campus and acclimated to the world of Indiana basketball after he gave coach Tom Crean his commitment a week before the fall semester began. He moved from upstate New York to Bloomington, jumped into a new locker room and pushed to keep pace with a team that was already beginning to gel after a five-game trip to Montreal.

Now, with offseason workouts beginning to yield results, Holt recognizes what he missed last summer.

“I feel like it would have helped a lot, to be honest,” Holt said Thursday. “… but we had to work with what we had.”

This time last year, Holt was planning for a year of prep school in Vermont, but a breakout summer on the AAU circuit put him on Indiana’s radar. Needing size and depth, Crean and assistant Chuck Martin wooed him to commit and Holt arrived looking to play a game of catch-up. But by the end of last season, after appearing in 29 games off the bench, averaging 3.6 points and shooting 65 percent from the floor, Holt turned himself into a valuable member of Crean’s thin frontcourt rotation. With a full summer at Cook Hall, Holt sees an opportunity for more production this winter.

The 6-foot-7 sophomore says he’s added 10 pounds of muscle to his frame and is up to 230 pounds. He’s working on diversifying his game, adding a long-range shot and developing ball-handling skills for his left hand so that he can join IU’s flurry of drive-and-kick attacks.

That work, Holt says, is paying off. But he also sees how the urgency to get better has swept across the Indiana locker room.

“The work ethic is definitely there,” Holt said. “The freshmen are still learning, but they’re feeding off the upperclassmen. The upperclassmen are getting in the gym — always in there, Nick (Zeisloft) being one of the main guys that are in there. Rob (Johnson), Yogi (Ferrell), Troy Williams, all of them. They’re just getting in there and getting extra work because they know champions are made in the offseason.”


  1. I find it troubling to read the first somewhat lengthy post on Holt since the horrible Halloween night incident and find no mention of Devin Davis. There may still be some things this young man could benefit to say publicly …This is where the men from boys get separated in the world of journalism. Sometimes there are bigger things than summer workouts.
    There is just simply too much fear. This puritanical desire to only whisper being closed doors and allow blame swept quietly under rugs where none belongs(becoming somewhat the always necessary implied result yet another witch hunt in a Tom Crean/Hoosier Basketball world of black and white), is a level of ego and denial supremely unhealthy to our program. I would have loved just a simple question….that could have offered Holt a chance to put a little love back in Devin’s corner of a cast out world.

  2. He may be a non-issue….And four Indiana kids dubbed as integral selections of “The Movement”(Patterson, Perea, Hollowell, Davis) all became non-issues. Doesn’t say a hell of a lot for Indiana kids.. And Yogi gets painted as a saint while carrying a fake ID and contributing to the culture that found Stan Robinson heading for the bus as well. Yet, he has the luxury to detach from that culture to plan a self-serving press conference to announce his future while fellow teammates are being cast out and labeled for hitting a joint in their dorm room. That’s a ton of non-issue hypocrisy.. The real non-issue is the head coach. He has provided a lot of preaching with absolutely zero guidance and even application of discipline. Disjointed, defunct, and disenfranchised will be the trademark of many a Hoosier that got lured by a man with only self-interest at heart. The labels reserved for the most expendable talent are always for pandering to his dwindling fan base still convinced a carnival booth operator can lead.

  3. Should be:

    Bryant 5
    Holt 4
    Williams 3 (nba position)
    Blackmon/Johnson 2
    Yogi 1

    Guarantee it goes:
    Bryant 5
    Williams 4
    Johnson 3
    Blackmon 2
    Yogi 1

    The second line-up will be on the court most and defensively we will suck if we don’t press

  4. Talk about living in the past! But if it compliments the anti-Crean narrative, go for it, right?

    While we’re at it, let’s talk about Larry Bird, Jay Edwards and all the other once-IU basketball players that, for whatever reason, left IU before completing there eligibility. We could assign motives, cast aspersions and make up all sorts of false statements about their circumstances at the time. Wouldn’t that be interesting?

    HC is completely right. Those players are non-issues for IU.

  5. Podunker-

    Have I ever told you that I really like you? Good. Your comparison brings names that were blips on radar of a coach that brought three banners to Indiana …and those blips were many years apart…
    Crean had almost an entire “Indiana Elite” class fall apart. And that doesn’t even include the loss of Robinson, Fischer, Abell, Hoetzel, Guy-Marc, and all his A-Hope failures to never grow beyond “project’ status…

    But you keep on trying……Tom Crean is not only grossly overpaid, a terrible tactician, and of zero value an X’s and O’s teacher of the game, …he’s proven to be a very poor judge of values….He picked the kids that didn’t honor anything he tried to sell….or put on a witch hunt cross. Outside of the two years Zeller saved his butt, the “Movement’ was a near complete failure.

  6. At IU. Unless you are Steve Alford among several other Knight players (who many had no choice but to have a strong work ethic) what does a college kid player know about work ethic? Nothing!

  7. So my heart was broken today. My wife left me some distraught messages while I was at work today. Apparently some neighborhood kids were making fun of my 6 year old daughter because she still can’t/won’t ride a bike without training wheels or somebody ready to steady her right behind. She’s been uninterested and/or unwilling to learn the past two summers– particularly when she’d rather run around, draw on the sidewalk, or drive her Little Princess Jeep. Daddy didn’t push the issue because, well, some things (like eating your vegetables) have to be pushed while other things kids should develop on their own timeline (within reason, of course…)

    But now she’s behind the curve in amateur cul-de-sac bike riding, and daddy’s not there to teach her. Or support her. She was very upset.

    While I hurt for my daughter, and my immediate responsibility is to comfort and reassure her, it’s also my responsibility to ensure she takes something positive out of it. Like how to believe in herself. How to deal with insults and bullies. How to take negative situations and turn them into motivation. How to grow thick skin. How to overcome.

    These aren’t concepts even the brightest of six year olds will likely comprehend for years. If ever. Kids will be kids, and they will be petty and mean. I only hope my little girl– and all my children– learn to take it all in stride, fight back when they need to, rise above when they don’t, and become better, stronger people as a result of it all.

    It’s hard being a six year old.

  8. Punjab,
    Both my boys, but not my always tall daughter, were on the small side when they were younger. They were nice kids and didn’t get too much bullying but there was some. Long story short they grew into big athletic people.

    The thing is, they experienced both sides of that equation. They were better people for it. They were certainly nicer people for it.

    It’s hard to know when to shelter them and when to toss them in the pool but they end up a product of both. I’ve never been an advocate of pushing a kid. If it was me (or my wife in my absence) I’d get on my bike and ask her if she wanted to ride with me. She’ll decide on her own to lose the training wheels.

    I think everyone does better following an example than they do taking advice.

    With any luck at all the bullying can be a lesson about how not to treat others.

  9. Punjab, My story and thoughts near the same as Chet’s except I have 3 sons. All growed, proud and productive. They were good kids, played all the sports and they gave as much as they took when dealing with others growing up. All I know is if they are to have a chance in life you can’t do their fighting or always interfere with their interpersonal experiences. Set boundaries and display examples as Chet stated, be there for support and cover em up with love. My boys are not as acerbic as the old man(mostly my bride’s fault)but when need be they bite damn hard. I never had a daughter so I know nothing of what your feeling. But lifes lessons start when were pretty young and not much can change that fact. Whether she wants to ride with training wheels or not is not important it is how you help her handle the kids who are having a problem with her TW’s. Good Luck

  10. Punjab,

    Buy your daughter a balance bike (I recommend the Skuut, but there are plenty of other bikes). They teach you to balance and glide on two wheels, which is what is really hard to learn, not pedaling. The training wheels teach her to NOT balance. The Skuut runs around $100 and you can find them at most decent bike shops. Almost any bike shop will have a balance bike in the $50 to 100 range. They really work. My son went from balance bike to pedal bike in 1 day, and pedal bike to NorCal BMX champ in a year. Now he shreds at downhill, road and dirt jump.

    Good luck! Hate it when a kid gets picked on like that!

  11. Several media outlets clearly caught on to the fact that when it comes to recruiting Crean is outspending the rest of B1G by a wide margin and they state their question unequivocally: “[…] but will his spending shore up his poor coaching?” You can read one of these reports here. Meanwhile this blog is busy discussing balance bikes for tikes.

  12. Thanks, coachw, for bringing up this topic of Crean’s unusually high expenses while recruiting what seems to be the entire USA at his usual FRANTIC pace. This was a major article in the IndyStar about a week ago, yet surprisingly no one on this site has touched the subject until your comment today. This issue seems like a very interesting topic for this comments section, especially during this period of basketball commenting drought, and I myself considered bringing the issue up every day since the IndyStar article appeared, but decided to defer to Harvard or other anti Crean regulars who write much more authoritively than I do.

    I’d hyperlink the IndyStar article if I knew how to do that, but instead just naming the source will have to suffice for now.

    Even the Crean apologists can enjoy participating, as many of them did on the IndyStar comments on Facebook. Either the article is an unfair slam against Crean because he is not to blame for the extreme disparity between his expenses and the rest of Div.1 basketball recruiters (due to IU
    Allegedly. Not having a private plane for Crean to use), or it is an important aspect of IUBB’s methods of recruiting under Crean’s leadership.

    Hopefully others WILL now respond to this troubling issue concerning HOW Crean recruits…….

  13. Thanks for the link to the article, coachw. A couple friends of mine close to the program have alluded to some qualitative “privilege” that Crean seems to regularly engage in throughout the Athletic Department and beyond.

    I don’t mind seeing the absolutely numbers and the disparity, but just like the author said, it is the translation to wins that is the problem. Also, the money is being spent on Crean, not on things that are making the team or the program any better. None of the money spent is going towards gaining an advantage over other schools. Crean just wants a softer pillow and bottled water made from baby rhino tears.

    UK spends a crap-ton of money on the hoops program. Last year, they spent 800k on a foreign “exhibition” trip. That’s a “recruiting” expense. UK sells 800k for a trip to travel around the world, while staying in great hotels with top notch food. Indiana promises you get to run in the sand in Cook Hall while Crean hires body guards and orders room service.

    How many more years of this?

  14. Seriously, I’d like IU to direct some of the money Crean spends on basketball recruiting to Wilson, so that he can expand his football recruiting efforts and “cast a wider net.” Wilson is doing more with less, so just think what he could do if he was allowed to expand his recruiting. It has long been my hypothesis that IU would get a much better R.O.I. by investing to expand football recruiting into other parts of the country (most notably California and Texas) than it has in the past. But it has to be a sustained investment to establish a presence within a “new” geographic region, not just a one or two year experiment. And IU’s recruiting operations should be sustainable regardless of a head coaching change. Yes, the head coach should direct and control recruiting, but IU Football should be able to maintain a recruiting presence (i.e., infrastructure) in key regions, regardless of who its head coach is. To a large extent, that’s how the big boys continue to maintain national recruiting programs all across the country.

  15. In another thread Harvard wrote:

    Crean knew landing Zeller would excuse this horrific coaching ability. But the cost was giving Cody’s choir club members [Etherington, ] and Adams’ A-Hope members spots that should have been for far more seasoned talent from the state hat would have cherished a chance to play with Zeller. Crean could not afford the gamble to only go after Zeller. He had to sell faith doctrines […] because his coaching credentials could not stand on their own. The supposed in-state momentum that was to come via Indiana Elite and “the Movement” was a near total collapse […].

    Jordy Hulls was the key to those two years that eventually duped Glass into the two year extension and that in spite of Crean’s idiotic propensity of preferring Verdell Jones. That’s when Crean got his nickname of Mr. Happenstance because he’d resort to Hulls only when Verdell was injured and Hulls would right the ship every time without getting the credit that he deserved. Hulls, whom Crean initially didn’t even want, probably because it was too cheap to recruit, being as he was already in town. Hulls who is essentially a Bob Knight product.

    There’s this link with a short portrait of Jordy that goes like this:

    Jordan Hulls, Armored Athlete: Hulls lit up the Big Ten for four seasons as a annoying, sharp-shooting pest and now he’s doing the same for Armored Athlete, which includes a number of his former Indiana teammates. Hulls shot 44% from three during his collegiate career and those have kept coming during The Tournament. Hulls shot 6-8 from three in Armored Athlete’s 12-point victory over Chicago Elite in the Round of 64. He followed that up with four more against Reach 1 Teach 1 in the Round of 32

    Jordan Hulls was loyal to IU in spite of Crean’s incompetence. He played his heart out for the cream and crimson. On Senior Day Jordan Hulls cracked when he talked about how his recruiting was conducted. A tremendous talent who gave its best to IU because to give any less would be to sacrifice the gift…

  16. TBT tweet: .@ArmoredAthlete advances with a 96-91 win over the Hoopville Warriors. AA to face Ants Alumni (Rod Wilmont) tomorrow at 9 p.m. #thetournament #Super17

  17. Here’s an interesting stat about Jordan Hulls in his senior year (the year we won the Big Ten title and Crean coudl not find anything better to do at the end of the game than chase Jeff Meyer in the Crisler Center) that either isn’t known or has been largely overlooked:

    The Hoosiers have outscored opponents by 439 points with him on the floor, the best plus-minus rating for an individual player in the nation.

    Here’s the link, for reference (also appears in Jordy’s Wikipedia page).

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