Today’s NBA Draft Blog Scouting Report looks at one of the most exciting guards in the country – high scoring Xavier junior Tu Holloway. Holloway, formerly known as Terrell Holloway, has great athletic ability and can score in bunches, but is the junior ready to make the leap like last year’s teammate Jordan Crawford? Let’s take a look at the game of Tu Holloway:
Tu Holloway, Xavier – Junior
Guard- 6’0, 185
19.9 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 5.6 apg, 42.7% FG, 87.0% FT, 33.5% 3FG
Perimeter Shooting- While Holloway has made great strides as a shooter since his freshman season, he still has some issues he needs to improve – shot selection and consistency. The shot selection problem has become less of an issue this season, though if he has missed a few shots in a row, he will start to force shots to try and stop the skid. Aside from that, he is slowly learning to take what the defense gives him and he has become very good at finding open space for his shot. Consistency is another matter. He has very good form on his shot, has good range, uses his legs well and has a quick release. The problem is, in an effort to get shots up quickly, he will do things like fade away from defenders or short arm his shots. His release is quick enough that he should be able to get his jumper off while keeping his form consistent, though at only 6 feet tall, he may not get many great looks against bigger defenders. Because of his size and the need to create space for his shot, he has become very good using pump fakes and his dribble to draw defenders off balance. He is also very good at getting his jumper off of screens, though he needs to do a better job of squaring to the basket when he comes off the screen.
Ballhandling/Hands/Penetration- Holloway is an excellent ballhandler, varying his dribbles and protecting the ball well. He needs to watch a tendency to overdribble looking to make a play, this leads to him getting caught in bad situations and turning the ball over. He is very aggressive with the ball in his hands, and while it gives him a great ability to create plays, it also leaves him vulnerable to giving up the ball. While he uses both hands will, he forces a lot of the action to his stronger right hand. Which leads us to his penetration skills – Holloway could be one of the most explosive guards in the NCAA. His first step combined with a great crossover dribble make him very difficult to stop. Again though, he tends to go to his right way too much, and good defenders know to overplay him, and the help defense is ready for it. On the plus side, Holloway has gotten better with his mid-range jumper, allowing him to get a step or two past his defender and get a quick shot up. If decides to take it all the way to the rim, he has a strong body which can take a hit and still finish, as well as great body control to elude defenders. Considering how good he is once he gets into the lane, it is a mystery why he settles for the long jumper so often.
Rebounding/Passing- While Holloway is a good rebounder, probably as good for as a 6’0 guard I have seen, you will not see him get many on the offensive end – his proclivity to long jumpers leaves it tough for him to anything other than a very long rebound. Holloway’s passing falls into 2 camps – either very good or very bad. He needs to find a balance between his need to force the ball and his need to create scores for his teammates. He is excellent at seeing the court, especially around bigger defenders, and he has good instincts for when and where his teammates are going to be open. He has become very creative at finding ways to get the ball into the post area, though; he needs to make sure that an easier pass won’t work. He also needs to improve his passing once he gets into the lane and draws defenders – his biggest problem is that he is often moving too fast on the way to the basket to make a very effective pass. If he can keep in control, he will get much better results. He also needs to become more consistent in pick and roll situations, making sure to at least give the screener a look as they go away – too often he is intent on getting his own shot.
Free Throw Shooting – Holloway is an excellent free throw shooter, very confident, and he wants to be the one on the line when it counts. He does an excellent job getting to the line, though he needs to make sure he does it consistently. I think even at the NBA level, he could get to the line 6-8 times every game.
Perimeter Defense- Holloway is a good perimeter defender, moves his feet well, has very active hands, good lateral movement and keeps himself between the player and the basket. He has a few problem areas though. First, his effort on the defensive end is far from consistent, though he does play many full games, and conservation of energy may be needed. It is still an area to watch for, as the offense can find good opportunities if they can see he won’t be going full out. On the other end of the spectrum, he can be way too aggressive on the defensive side (just like the offensive end), leaving him to get beaten badly by his man. This aggressiveness extends to double-teaming and playing help defense. He needs to have a better understanding of when to pick and choose the spots to overplay and be aggressive. If he does that, his defensive skills are good enough for him to guard NBA point guards. One area where he has problems is getting through screens, going under the screen too often leaving his man a good look at the basket. If he gets better at fighting through, he is quick enough to recover. He closes on shooters well when he does it, though he doesn’t do it often enough.
Rebounding- As I mentioned earlier, Holloway is a great rebounder for his size. He has great instincts for missed shots, uses his size to his advantage to get into spaces where he has a chance to get the ball and secures it well once he has it. He also does a good job making sure to block out long rebound opportunities.
Holloway can be great in transition – with the kind of speed that makes it tough for the defense to beat him back to the basket. He is very good at finding ways to score, either off the pull-up jumper or taking the ball all the way to the rim – and the bonus is he doesn’t mind taking some contact. The one area he could improve is on his transition D, where he needs to work on his positioning. He looks to chase down the ball too much, instead of finding a good angle to cut off the man and any passes he can make.
Summary & Intangibles
Athleticism – Excellent
BB IQ – High
I will say right off the bat that I think Holloway has the potential to be a very good NBA point guard. That being said, I don’t think he is quite ready to make the jump yet. He has the opportunities to work on his biggest areas of concern – efficiency and control – with one more year at Xavier. I do think if he was to come out this year, that he could go as high as the early 2nd round, but if he was to come back for one more season, I think he can easily find his way into the late 1st round. There isn’t much not to like about his game, but the flaws he does have won’t go over well at the NBA level – better he try and fix them now while getting a lot of court time to do it.
Make sure to check back later today for a look at the 2nd