The education of Patrick Holloway as
basketball player continues. The freshman from Stafford and Paul VI High School
has experienced highs – a career-best 17 points against Maryland, a 5-for-7
game on threes in a comeback win against William & Mary. He has encountered
lows – five games of going scoreless, a 3-for-12 shooting stretch over a
three-game span and a 3-for-14 stretch in a four-game span.
He’s been knocked around in practices, by
older, bigger and stronger teammates; he’s been lectured by coaches for missed
assignments on offense or defense.
The kid, all 6-foot-1, 155 pounds of him, can
shoot, all right. Give him an inch of daylight and he’ll take a three. At this
point in his career, he’s a streak shooter. When he’s on, he’s instant offense.
When he’s off, the team can stagnate offensively.
There’s a steadiness to him that indicates
he could have a bright future. He can shake off a missed shot or a tough game
or a shooting slump.
A year ago, he was the man in the D.C. metro
area, being named All-Met Player of the Year by the Washington Post. He had a magical season, leading Paul VI to an
unbeaten year in the super-competitive Washington Catholic Athletic Conference,
hitting several game-winning shots, and to the Virginia private school title.
Those successes are a contrast to his
current up-and-down season, but he understands there is a process at work:
“This is part of being a freshman. You have to grow each game, each practice.
The more I do things right and the more I show I’m ready to play, then the more
the coaches will trust to put me in a game; the more I’m in a game, the more
comfortable I get with the team, then the more comfortable they get with me.
“I’m just trying to learn and get better
each game, each practice. If I continue to do that, I’ll be all right.”
When the Patriots opened their season with a
63-59 win against Virginia, Holloway played just four minutes. “It was a
wake-up call as to show how much better I needed to get and how much harder I
needed to play,” he said.
Practicing against teammates like Sherrod
Wright, a redshirt junior guard, who has about four inches, 40 pounds and three
years of college experience on Holloway, was also a wake-up call. Wright considers
it his duty to prepare Holloway for the college game; the two guard each other
a lot in workouts.
“When we go at it in practice, I try to test
him and make sure he’s working his hardest,” Wright said. “When people see him
on defense, their eyes can light up because he’s smaller. They’ll try to push
you, bully you.
“I try to get physical with him so he’ll be
prepared. If he hits a couple shots, somebody may do something dirty with an
elbow or put him on his back when he goes in the lane. He’s going through his
freshman bumps like we all did. He’s starting to mature and take better shots
and play harder defense. Those are things we need him to do and he’s doing
Compared to early-season practices when
Holloway was hitting the deck regularly, he’s holding his own. He even seeks
out matchups against Wright, who leads the Patriots in scoring at 16.5 points a
“It was kind of embarrassing,” said Holloway
of some early practices, who is averaging 5.4 points and 12.6 minutes per game
while shooting 37.3 percent from beyond the arc. “I stopped looking at it as
intimidation and looked at it as a way to get better. Now I like playing
against Sherrod, because it’s going to make me better. He might score on me, he
might push me down. But I know in the long run its going to help me.”
His body has been beaten up by the season;
he’s committed to getting into the weight room in the offseason to bulk up.
Still, he has handled the physical transition and the mental transition to the
college game, not that it was easy.
“I came in here so mentally immature,”
Holloway said. “Not really knowing how to handle things, coaches yelling,
coaches getting on me. I wasn’t as used to that or expecting that coming in. As
time has gone on, I know I have a great coaching staff. They push me and
continue to yell at me. That’s paved the way to improvement. I’ve matured in
Holloway was taking that same long-term
approach after Tuesday’s 85-81 loss to Towson. He hit two late-game threes that
enabled the Patriots to get to overtime before losing 85-81. He also missed six
shots in his 16 minutes.
“It’s really disappointing,” he said
afterwards outside the locker room. “We fought so hard to come back. As a
freshman, it’s been tough. All in all, I think I can say I’ve gained a lot of
experience. I didn’t come in on a team that was just winning all its games. I
came in on a team that’s had its ups and downs and had to battle.
“It’s a lot to take in on one season. I’m
glad I could experience it so I can see what it’s like to lose, what it’s like
to win -- to see both sides of it, experience it, take it all in and continue
to move forward.”
Holloway mentioned the regular-season finale
Saturday at Delaware and next week’s CAA Tournament. A three-game win streak in
Richmond would put the Patriots in the NCAA tournament.
“I think a lot of people see this season for
us being over, but we don’t see that,” he said. “We still have the conference
tournament. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s about. It’s about winning
the conference tournament.”