Holt rises to the challenge in IU’s win over Pitt

  • 12/03/2014 7:56 am in

Indiana desperately needed a post presence on Tuesday night against Pittsburgh.

They found it in freshman Emmitt Holt.

In a game in which the Hoosiers were once again outsized and outrebounded, they managed to defeat the Panthers by a 81-69 score in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Holt, playing in just his third game of his college career, led the Hoosiers with 15 points — including a 6-of-6 line from the field.

All of those shots were made in the paint.

“I guess it came out of the blue,” Holt said following the game. “We’re working hard every day in practice. (This is) just something that came about.”

Against the Panthers, Holt seized his opportunities in the paint. Two of his layups came off offensive rebounds and he drew another two fouls off layup attempts as well. He also was effective on the defensive end, utilizing his 7-foot-1 wingspan to alter shots.

He finished with two blocks, five rebounds and zero fouls.

Even Indiana coach Tom Crean was surprised at Holt’s performance after the fact.

“We have not seen Emmitt quite like that,” Crean said. “That’s a pretty good Emmitt right there. We’ve seen him hustle like that. Emmitt is gaining confidence. I think that’s a huge thing.

“He just didn’t have the game experience.”

As a last-minute addition to the 2014 class, Holt did not have the chance to play in the Hoosiers’ five-game Montreal exhibition trip. At that point, he still was planning on attending Vermont Academy this fall.

Holt had always wanted to play at a high-major school like Indiana but did not get the offers he had hoped for through his four years of high school. He made the decision to attend prep school for an opportunity that arrived before he even started school.

The Hoosiers observed Holt, 18, while he played on the EYBL circuit for Albany City Rocks (N.Y.), in which he averaged 11.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game. The interest continued to rise over the summer as the Hoosiers had an extra scholarship available.

Holt committed to Indiana just five days before the fall semester started.

“I was trying to get to a big school like this going to prep school,” Holt said. “So why not go now?”

But Holt, despite showing early improvement in practice, was put through adversity early.

Early in the morning on Nov. 1, Holt hit teammate Devin Davis while driving on 17th Street and was cited for driving with a BAC of above .02. Indiana’s coaches did not let Holt out of their sight for the following 48 hours.

As much as Davis needed support in the hospital, Crean has said, Holt needed emotional support, too. He received it from an all-important source, too — Davis’s family.

“The first thing was they forgave me,” Holt said. “That was the biggest thing for me because I hurt their child. They supported me along the way. They knew I felt bad for what I did. It changed my life forever.”

Holt was suspended for the Hoosiers’ first four games (including two exhibitions) and made his first appearance in five minutes of action against Lamar. He still is short on game experience, Crean said.

But with Davis watching on from behind the team’s bench in Assembly Hall on Tuesday, Holt led the way for the Hoosiers against the Panthers.

“He came in and he was excited and we made it clear right away this guy is here to compete,” Crean said. “He’s not here to be anybody’s understudy.

“Was he ready for it right away? No, not on the court or off the court. But he’s learning. Hopefully he’ll continue to do that.”

Filed to:

  • And there’s no reason to think that there is either… What were there, two or three practices that Emmitt could have participated in, prior to EW? And he had been off, due to the suspension and who knows what kind of emotional stress he had gone through over the whole incident? Unless you were at those practices, you really can’t reasonably infer, what you are.. and the conclusion you are reaching because of that inference.

  • The problem with your post is, we as fans see only a microcosm of the total experience a given player is going through.. And as a fan, you are not in most cases (unless you’ve coached D1 basketball at a major college level), qualified to intelligently make those decisions anyway, based upon your limited exposure to the total picture.

  • I agree with you B_side.. but most of these guys just aren’t really thinking, they’re just posting comments and most times they are not well thought out at all.. I believe most guys used to refer to it as ‘shootin; off their mouth’…lol…

  • YEah, and I think it was pointed out, she apparently is willing to overlook the problems going on at Syracuse right now as well.. I would like to be wrong, but after that news came out last week, don’t feel real good about getting him. As ‘Ole Man’ pointed out above though, we really don’t need another ‘Momma’s boy’ now do we?

  • Now that made me laugh out loud. My dog actually came running over, to see what I was laughing at…

  • Jrod

    I am pretty sure he did that last night.

  • Arch Puddington

    Ken, I just don’t understand the hostility in your post. I have no history of running down CTC or of making the kind of insulting personal comments that some like to direct at him. I give my opinions, but they are almost always based on some kind of data or other evidence. For example, I pointed out on a couple of occasions that in his last 90 minutes of PT prior to last night, Hanner had 11 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 9 fouls, while over the same stretch Holt had 7 rebounds, 2 blocks, and no fouls in just 17 minutes. Is that “shooting off my mouth” in a “meaningless” post, or is it just the normal observation of an active fan?

    I understand disagreeing with a position I have taken, but I don’t understand this kind of comment.

  • Hey sorry Arch,, I really didn’t mean to be hostile.. I just get so upset sometimes, when fans think they know all there is to know about a given situation, when they aren’t seeing the player except for a few minutes of a game. They don’t see what he’s doing at practice, they don’t know if there is something else going on that Crean may be taking into consideration, it seems like they’re forgetting that EH wasn’t allowed to practice with the team while he was suspended.. they don’t know if he is really in game shape yet, yet they are quick to jump on Crean, even after a win and try to fond things to nit-pick about. I know you usually are pretty fair in your comments, but I can’t believe the tone of some of the comments that some of these guys are coming up with… even after I thought the team played so hard for Crean, and after all it was a win.. You’d never know that the way some of the se posts are going.. I know everyone is entitled to their own opinions, just don’t see this jumping on Crean all of the time. Sorry if I sounded too hostile, I usually like most of your comments pretty well across the board. guess it was just getting to me a little bit.

  • Arch Puddington

    Alex is entitled to post (duh), but I am entitled to disagree…..

    I happen to agree with OceanArcher in this case, and I thought Alex’s sarcasm was a bit excessive. I’ll get over it, though!

  • Arch Puddington

    Thanks, Ken. You and l don’t always agree, but we get along just fine. Interestingly, I have found the discussion at ITH to be far less hostile or insulting towards CTC this year than last. A couple of prominent anti-CTC voices have, at least for now, gone silent, and most of what I have seen has been pretty straightforward discussion of the pros and cons of the team. Obviously there has been plenty to be critical of, but there has been plenty of good as well. For the most part I have found the comments to be pretty fair.

    We’ll see what happens if last night was the exception and the previous couple of games were the rule. Might have to wear a cup and a mouthpiece before posting….

  • Outoftheloop

    That’s easy, I can’t afford the pay cut and the hours are too long!

  • Outoftheloop

    Ken, if you followed the reports, you would have read that the suspended players practiced with the team for every practice. They just were banned from the floor for the 4 games.

  • Outoftheloop

    Coaches who win a lot of games and don’t make many player playing time mistakes.

  • Outoftheloop

    It is possible but not probable.

  • Hoosier Hall

    Yep. If April shows he can contribute as well, our front court might not be as bad as everyone expected. I don’t presume to know everything about our big men and who should/shouldn’t be playing but I liked what I saw from Holt and Hanner (Hanner was better in the 2nd half). We need both of them to play like that if we want to bang with Michigan St., Ohio St. and others.

  • Hoosier Hall

    In this day and age, there are a ton of freshman who are ready for the college game on day one. JBJ and RJ have been stellar for us so far and I just watched Tyus Jones DESTROY Wisconsin. Tyler Ennis from last season is another one I can think of. The freshman argument is valid only in some cases but for others, they have been prepped for this their whole lives.

  • Hoosier Hall

    They still have California and Washington on their schedule as “major conference” opponents. I will be watching those results closely. We played terrible defense (no way around that) but those guys were not a bad team and had a legitimate NBA talent in Tyler Harvey.

  • TomJameson

    The phrase means nothing and I apologize for attributing that one to you. But (you knew that was coming lol) my response to you was because of a pattern of criticism you lay out against CTC. Not a critique, because I don’t recall anything good you’ve ever said, but always finding fault. Maybe “hate” was a strong word, but it really is evident you don’t like Tom Crean in his current position. I get it, and I get it that you are not alone, but to second guess him on every decision he makes is really going after him. Hind-sight is 20-20 and even I can see mistakes he made .. in retrospect. But my point was a good one that he sees a lot more than us fans do. I would also wager that these young men, at times, play differently in practice than in games.
    Ocean, you are more than welcome to your own opinion. I fought for you to have that right and I would do so again. I really apologize if it’s construed that I’m saying you can’t speak up, please do. I hope you, and everybody else, can forgive me for popping off when the drone of non-stop criticism and negativity reaches my “pop-off” level. LOL

  • TomJameson

    But even EH was saying that he wasn’t ready emotionally. He was really struggling with the whole accident thing, to his credit! I want him to feel responsible for his actions … I want him to get emotional and fired up (during games.) But it looks like when he reached a certain point, he was ready to go. To me this whole should of/could of thing is becoming more of a distraction than what it needs to be. CTC was surprised at how EH played at game time. Will probably start getting more minutes and the competition between him and Hanner should help them both. Plus, plus, plus…. Seriously, how many of us have been surprised by CH and/or NZ. Remember the criticism CTC got for them two? LOL

  • I agree with your sentiments. I would really like to see April given a try. he certain;t has the size we’re needing in the middle. When you look at teams like Wisconsin, Iowa, and a couple of others in the B1G, we’re going to need a guy like that to be successful. I really hope the rankings are wrong… Ken Pom I believe it is has us at like 10th out of 12 in the league. I think that came out AFTER the Pitt game.. Wow, we’ve got to be better than that.

  • INUnivHoosier

    I think that’s largely a cultural thing, sharing the glory and owning the failure. We’re encouraged to own up to our mistakes and not blame others, and we’re encouraged to thank others when we have success.

  • I’ve been a crean supporter as far as recruiting goes, in particular his practice of over signing, which has been criticized by many fans here. I’ve largely stayed away from criticizing his personnel decisions until recently.

    Fans always want to see players xyz get more minutes but that’s just not realistic. We don’t see what coaches see in practice, and we don’t know their overall plans, strategies, or other intricacies involved in personnel decisions. If I were thrust into a head coaching position for IU, I’d fail horribly. But I’m not comparing my pathetic coaching abilities to ctc. Comparing ctc to his peers who are making $3m/yr, I think we’re getting a poor ROI.

    I finally spoke up after the EWU game because of the obvious absence of holt or anyone else taller than 6’6″ after he benched hmp. Creans explanation was that the game was moving too fast for holt. That defies common sense because holt showed us in the Lamar game before EWU that he was very competent. 4 pts 2 boards in only 5 minutes. If crean explained that it was his strategy to play smaller players to speed up the pace, I would have still criticized him, but at least I would have believed him.

    To be fair, Bo Ryan is much worse at playing freshmen, but he’s managed to build some pretty successful teams lately.

  • Outoftheloop

    I don’t ever assume anything. Why do you?

  • Outoftheloop

    Then check it out.

  • Outoftheloop


  • GatewayHoosier

    Hmmm, I don’t think this is going to go anywhere constructive at this point. Happy holidays and go Hoosiers.

  • GatewayHoosier

    Valid point. I guess the only nuance I would see is you’re framing that in individual terms (what we as people are taught to do when assessing ourselves) whereas I’m talking about what goes on here – assessing the performance of others. I just don’t think it’s too much to have a consistent standard of evaluation.

  • TomJameson

    I can see where you’re coming from, and agree with a lot of it. My only real point is that Crean said the game was moving too fast for holt, then after that one game CTC said how he was surprised. That leads me to believe that Coach hadn’t seen that side of Holt yet, in practice or in game time (regardless of his prior stats). CTC, and any coach for that matter, has access to a ton of input into a player’s readiness that we don’t. To his credit, he did admit he was surprised. NOW, that said, if he doesn’t play Holt going forward then shame on Coach! LOL