2014-2015 Player Profile: Emmitt Holt

  • 10/13/2014 10:06 am in

With the start of college basketball season on the horizon, we’re taking a long look at the conference at large as well as Indiana’s roster this month. Today, we continue our look at Indiana’s roster with Emmitt Holt.

Adding a player in late August, particularly a freshman, isn’t common in college basketball, but that’s exactly what happened with Indiana and Emmitt Holt.

The 6-foot-7, 225 pound forward from Rochester, New York had originally opted to reclassify to the 2015 and attend Vermont Academy with the hopes of growing his game and his recruitment.

But Indiana’s need for additional frontcourt help led new assistant coach Chuck Martin to inquire with Holt about taking a visit to Bloomington and moving back to the 2014 class. Holt made his visit to Bloomington in late August and committed while on the trip.

The decision to add Holt, who averaged 19.8 points, 14.6 rebounds and 5.0 blocks per game as a senior at Webster Schroeder High School, should give the Hoosiers another option in the frontcourt who can help right away, particularly on the glass.

Holt played AAU for the Albany City Rocks in Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) and put together impressive numbers that suggest he won’t have a problem competing for minutes right away. In EYBL play, he averaged 11.6 points (60.2 FG%), 7.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game.

“He was our most important player,” Jimmy Hart, the director of the Albany City Rocks, told Inside the Hall in late August. “At the end of every game, if someone asked our guys who the MVP of the team was, everyone would vote for Emmitt.”

Vermont Academy coch Alex Popp, who was expecting to have Holt in his frontcourt this winter, lauded the work of Martin for coming in late to seal the deal in his recruitment.

“He was a hidden gem,” Popp explained. “He didn’t play on the EYBL with City Rocks until after he graduated high school. If he would have been at Vermont (Academy), he certainly would have had some other BCS schools involved, there’s no doubt.

“Chuck Martin did a great job recruiting him. He killed it. They’re doing a great job of recruiting this region, which isn’t easy. Coming from the midwest to get guys like Noah Vonleh and now Emmitt Holt, trust me, it’s not easy for schools in the midwest to come into the northeast and get players.”

With Holt in the fold, Indiana should feel better about its frontcourt depth behind Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Devin Davis. He may not be a traditional big man, but his freakish wingspan (7-foot-3) combined with his wide base should make him a solid candidate to crack the rotation immediately.

Bottom line: There’s still some uncertainty when it comes to Holt just because he wasn’t followed very closely on the recruiting trail, but unlike with Tim Priller and Jeremiah April, he put up numbers at the highest level of AAU that suggest he’ll be capable of producing right away. Holt will be one of the guys that Indiana fans will be most interested to see in a couple of weeks at Hoosier Hysteria and if he can give Indiana the additional frontcourt rebounding and defense that it needs, the shrewd move to add him in late August could end up being a pivotal development in IU’s success this season.

Quotable: “We are excited to bring Emmitt to Indiana at such a late date. We determined that we needed another quality player up front and we were able to uncover Emmitt’s potential availability. He is coming off a very impressive high school season and also an outstanding spring and summer with the Albany City Rocks. He would have been a high level recruit this coming year and we are happy to have him now.” – Tom Crean on Holt.

Previous: James Blackmon Jr., Max Hoetzel, Robert Johnson, Tim Priller, Jeremiah April

Photo credit: IU Athletics

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  • Terry Arney

    Having practiced w/ both CZ and NV: His raweness coming in as a freshman should be refined by now

  • Freethrows

    I would say NZ will fill in at the 2 as well as the 3. I agree with you that he looks to be a real bright spot for IU this coming season.

  • Terry Arney

    I agree with that too. RJ seems very capable of backing YF at the one.

  • IUfanforever

    Fourputts, Yogi has always shared the ball….look at his freshman year all he did was pass….last year he passed the ball to Eron Gordon and Austin Etherington both whom could not shoot or in most cases hesitated. Geez quit banging on Yogi….he is a top 5 point guard in the Country….I expect he will have a ton of assists when he throws the ball to JBJ this year as compared to last year.

  • Speed

    This is an interesting view! Crean always seems to do better with a small lineup. I sure hope you are right because living down near the KY line gives me a daily dose of ‘Blue” news. Seems like every kid who can play basketball wants to go to UK! PUKE

  • HoosierGrampy

    Fairly tall order you’re placing on 6 players who have ZERO D1 experience. IU averaged 15 TO/game last year (482) and @ 44% of those (225) were made by the players returning with “experience”. This leaves considerable room for rapid improvement by everyone! Not sure what you mean by “ferocious defense”, but I’d be content to see a group of players who knew how to switch, fight through screens and block out for starters.
    Your comment re: focusing on eliminating dumb mistakes brought back a story of Casey Stengel telling Yogi Berra (who was in a mild slump one season) to “Think while you’re at the plate”. Next time up he took 3 straight strikes w/o lifting the bat off his shoulders. Walked back to the dugout, threw his bat in the rack, looked at Stengel and said, “A man cannot THINK when he’s at bat.” His point was that instinct has to account for something.

  • Crazy Chester

    EH’s measurements and body suggest he may eventually be able to compete at the B1G level. However, expecting a kid that wasnt recruited by any other BCS schools to come in and magically be able to handle anything but spot minutes is a little absurd. I mean, we have had kids ranked light years ahead of EH that had no business being on the Court their first year in the B1G. Why is everyone assuming EH is an exception that will automatically be B1G ready?

    Yes, I know I am a debbie downer. Just feel like I taking crazy pills reading some of these comments.

  • Crazy Chester

    You think EH, who was unranked and recruited by no majors is going to play 10-12 min his freshman year in the big 10? A little context, HMP was a top 50 recruit and recruited by a bunch of majors and averaged 7.7 minutes as a SOPHOMORE in this league.

  • ForeverIU

    The easy answer is that he was recruited to help satisfy an immediate need down low, if mainly in rebounding and defense. I see him as Devin and Hanner’s understudy, and will work his way up to possibly 10-15 minutes per game. A previous ITH piece, “Indiana lands ‘hidden gem’ in Emmitt Holt,” is very informative (don’t know if you’ve seen it).

  • HannerTime Hoosier

    Love your reply HG! I am a very successful manager/coach for employees and I believe everyone can improve & get better. We all develop @ different rates, but we all get better. I believe CTC, his new coaches, new players, etc can surprise everyone. The past is not the future and those who embrace each day as one to be something they were not before are on a path with no limitations. Cheers!

  • Bryce Kepner

    I think EH can do the same if not more than what DD did last year. EH already comes in with the physique ready along with the wingspan to come in. Plus we have no depth down low so I think we kind of need him at this point

  • Bryce Kepner

    Not highly ranked because he didn’t play AAU ball till after graduation. AAU is where players get their ratings. He had a strong EYBL showing this last summer and was planning on going to prep school. We nabbed him up. The kid led the EYBL, which is the most competitive AAU league in the states, in blocks, but up double figure points and average a little over 7 rebounds. Thats against TOP D1 talent. He maybe not have gotten very highly ranked, but has competed and beat highly recruited talent.

  • b_side

    Some more context. HMP was playing behind Cody and Watford (and to some extent Elston) as a freshman. He was also suspended 9 games further hindering his development.

    As a soph, he played behind the #9 pick. The DWI didn’t help either. I’m failing to see what one has to do with the other. To me, HMP was overrated in high school (a highlight reel but not much else), while Holt was underrated. I think it’s very possible for Holt to exceed expectations while Hanner finally gets the right opportunity to live up to his.

    The situation with Holt is unique. The majors were under the assumption that as a late bloomer, he would go to prep school. And again, rankings are all about exposure. If the guy didn’t play AAU till after graduation, which scouting service is going to rank him?

  • b_side

    I think you and I have hammered home this point throughout. To me, rankings are the most overrated source of talent once you get outside McD’s players. Scouting services have perpetually dropped the rankings of players who commit early just to generate interest among uncommitted players. Rivals, Espn, Scout, etc are all about click bait.

  • ForeverIU

    Finally we get some intellect in this conversation!

  • ForeverIU

    I think the same might be true of O.G. Anunoby, didn’t play AAU ball until late.

  • ForeverIU

    While I have you on the line, b_side … I feel we’ve created a few urban myths around ITH, one of them being that Hanner is an underperformer. I wonder how much of that is coming from our (not your) puritanical inclinations (the DWI with its Canada extension). For a kid who has been plagued by circumstance, and having been in the shadow of #4 and #9, I think he’s done pretty well. Not necessarily second-guessing your statement, but why do you think Hanner was overrated coming in?

  • AnonymousDave

    Yea to add on more to what they’re saying that rankings don’t matter much, there are a lot of things you can’t measure or acutely display in a highlight reel that often get left out of rankings. Things such as leadership, intelligence, coordination, hustle, confidence and much more. I think Holt possesses lots of these qualities with a college ready body. At the end of the day all we need from him is to do some dirty work and I think he is the kind of player who can thrive in that role.

  • AnonymousDave

    Love this kid and think he is gonna have a big career at IU. He is long and has just enough athleticism to keep up with stretch fours and a powerful enough build to handle the more traditional fours. If he sprouts another inch or two and can help us a the five then that’s just a bonus.

  • hoosierfan2336

    Perea was highly overrated coming out and guys like oladipo weren’t even on the radar. An arbitrary number next to a teenager’s name holds very little bearing as to how they will perform against real competition in college.

  • Crazy Chester

    We don’t know what assumptions other high majors were under regarding Holt. What we do know is the only offers he received were from low, low majors. I just think it is a little unrealistic to think that a kid that was only offered by schools like Fairfield and Towson is going to come in as a B1G ready post player. Again, am I taking crazy pills? We have had kids that were much more highly ranked that had no business on the Court their freshman year.
    I have a theory that because his name is Emmitt (like one of the greatest athletes to ever live), our fans are looking past all the other indicators suggesting he will have to be developed over time, and just assuming we found a Noah Vonleh that every other major in the country failed to offer.

  • Crazy Chester

    The ranking are not always accurate, but they are probably the best indicator we have of whether a kid will be successful on this level. They are not perfect, but they absolutely have a significant correlation as to how a kid will perform in college.

  • b_side

    The gist of it is that his YouTube highlight reels, the collective hype around The Movement, bad luck (9 game suspension), immaturity (DWI) and more bad luck (Canada passport) have all contributed to HMP’s inability to meet the expectations I had for him. And yes, @disqus_g9Yt6nqHCa:disqus, his HS ranking certainly played a role as well.

    Court awareness, or lack thereof, is probably my biggest issue. He has all the physical tools of course, but it hasn’t translated with the exception of his performance against OSU last year. But maybe that’s just it – maybe he just needs to know no one is looking over his shoulder, that he has the freedom to make mistakes. Part of that is coaching as well. If you know you have a short leash, that added pressure makes you think too much as opposed to playing on instinct. I think the game will slow down for him immensely this season.

    And if you check out the Forum, Jordan Littman has some great observations from teammates after attending practice. Believe Alex will have some input as well after attending practice yesterday.

  • b_side

    But what we do know is that he performed against elite high school talent in the EYBL tourney and performed admirably. That, to me, is the biggest sign that he is capable of contributing for 10 mpg. Re-read the quote from the prep school coach who expected to have him:

    “He was a hidden gem,” Popp explained. “He didn’t play on the EYBL with City Rocks until after he graduated high school. If he would have been at Vermont (Academy), he certainly would have had some other BCS schools involved, there’s no doubt.”

    Is he taking crazy pills too?

    Btw, your Emmitt theory is just laughable. I never once compared his impact to Vonleh either – no need to put words in my mouth. Once again, the word I used is “serviceable.” Big difference from being the B1G leading rebounder and future lottery pick vs. a minor role player.

  • ForeverIU

    Yeah, I think “the freedom to make mistakes” is crucial, as you say. HannerTime Hoosier also recently said something about that, allowing him to play through his “lapses”.

  • b_side

    More evidence (crazy pills?) per Rick Bozich (Alex’s father) among his 5 takeaways from watching practice yesterday.

    “4. Emmitt Holt was a solid late pick-up – Crean did not finish his 2014 recruiting class until August, when IU added Holt, a 6-foot-7, 225-pound forward from Webster, N. Y.

    Don’t expect Holt to deliver big numbers this season. But he should be able to provide 8-to-12 minutes per game as a back-up to Devin Davis and Williams at forward.

    His shot and ball-handling need work, but Holt has the shoulders and resolve to try to score through contact. He also has the wingspan to rebound.”

  • Crazy Chester

    I read nothing in Mr. Popp’s statement that indicates EH will be a serviceable post player in the B1G his freshman year. Just that BCS schools would have been involved after a year of prep. Also, I wouldn’t consider Popp the most objective source, considering he is talking about a kid he had expected to coach.
    Yes, I understand the Emmitt Smith theory is silly. It was tongue and cheek. It’s just that the expectations on this board for EH make no sense whatsoever. The truth is April, Priller, and Holt were never part of our recruiting plan. They were each last available grabs to fill out our roster, which was severly depleted due to Crean’s misses on several other recruits and the mass exodus that occurred last year.
    My guess is that like most other unheralded Freshman, EH plays spot minutes this year and next, and then potentially develops into a player in year 3 or 4, OR he is not B1G caliber and transfers to a low major.

  • b_side

    See above quote per Rick Bozich – he’s unbiased and actually seen Holt in person. Not just basing an opinion off rankings.

  • aHoopandaPrayer

    I’m certainly impressed. No question about that. AAU or not a finalist for NY Mr. Basketball isn’t completely overlooked. Usually, in these situations, you hear that there was a late growth spurt.

  • aHoopandaPrayer

    On another note, how does the poor kid find long-sleeve shirts that fit?! ; ]

  • hoosierfan2336

    Maybe as a ruler for fans. I would guess coaches and scouts are much better versed at gauging how a kid will perform and fit in with the system. I understand the two are inter-connected, but I think way too much is invested in a number.

  • HoosierGrampy

    The 2003 Marquette team (Final Four) started 2 players 6’10”, 1 at 6’7″, 1 at 6″5 and 1 at 6’1″…this a “small team”??

  • HoosierGrampy

    Your numbers = 90 if you include the 5 Troy spends at the 3. 85 if those minutes are included in his 30. I tend to think that when the B1G season begins, we will see a more traditional PG-SG-SF-PF-PF lineup on the court for major minutes. IF TF relies upon 3 guards, Troy and somebody else for a majority of minutes, I believe the magazines will have accurately placed us. We have too much inexperience and only 6 guys with any D1-level game. Temper your expectations…

  • HoosierGrampy

    Whenever HMP gets on the floor in MS Valley State game, it probably won’t take 5 minutes to gauge the length of the leash TC has on him. He has let several players “play through lapses” in previous years…

  • HoosierGrampy

    Didn’t you also predict that the Edsel would become Ford’s all time best seller, that Anna Nicole would marry for money and that LeBron would stay in Miami? jk

  • HoosierGrampy

    I hope that TC & staff are busy teaching all these young players how to set LEGAL screens for the shooters, and how the shooters should use the screens to get open for a shot. I don’t see any opponent just standing around watching these guys jack up 3’s–shots will be contested. Last year’s team excelled at setting moving screens, but couldn’t do a legal one very well or very often.

  • b_side

    What exactly are my expectstions? I’m not predicting a top 3 finish or a sweet sixteen.

    This discussion concerns whether Holt is capable of being a serviceable backup for 10 minutes at the 4/5 spots.