BLOOMINGTON -- If Tom Crean and new assistant coach Chuck Martin are right, the Indiana Hoosiers might have acquired a basketball recruiting steal in power forward Emmitt Holt. No, not in the manner of Victor Oladipo, who went from national unknown to No.2 NBA draft pick in his three seasons in Bloomington, but enough to make a season-changing difference.
Yes, “if” is a huge word in these hype-till-you-drop times. No one knows what impact Holt will have until he faces big-time opponents. And if you've seen Indiana's schedule this upcoming season (say hello to Louisville, Georgetown, Pittsburgh and SMU), you know there is plenty of big time to choose from.
For now we know that the Hoosiers, in need for more inside depth, landed a 6-7, 225-pound rebounding and blocking force out of New York state. Although he committed last week, he officially signed on Tuesday after Crean and Martin convinced him to scrap plans to attend prep school and head to college now.
“We are excited to bring Emmitt to Indiana at such a late date,” Crean said in an IU release. “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.”
Holt's senior numbers -- 19.8 points, 14.6 rebounds and 5.0 blocks for Webster Schroeder High School -- were enough to make him a New York Mr. Basketball finalist and second-team all-state choice.
His 7-3 wingspan suggests impressive potential in Crean's deflection-loving defensive scheme. It certainly impressed Holt's high school coach, Matt Spadoni.
“I think Emmitt has unlimited potential. He kept getting better and better,” Spadoni said in a university release. “He is a team player, and I think when you put him in a highly competitive environment like that, it will bring even more out.'”
Holt thrived in travel ball play for the Albany City Rocks in the last five months, especially in the prestigious Nike Elite Youth Basketball League. He averaged 11.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks against some of the nation's best players.
“He was our most important player,” Albany City coach Jim Hart said in the release. “A lot of qualities you'd want in your point guard, he gives in your front court. Most bigs don't make perimeter guys better.”
Holt, it seems, does.
“Emmitt has a plus 7 wingspan which he uses to rebound, score around the basket, and block and alter shots,” Crean said. “His energy and competitiveness come to life quickly when you watch him. We are very impressed with his feet, touch and feel for the game and look forward to his ever growing development.”
Holt is the sixth member of a recruiting class that ranks 17th nationally. The others are guards James Blackmon, Jr. and Robert Johnson, forwards Max Hoetzel and Tim Priller and center Jeremiah April.
Blackmon is a former Bishop Luers standout.
Signing Holt was the first get for Martin, who was hired in June to replace former assistant coach Kenny Johnson, who is now at Louisville.
“Chuck Martin utilized his vast network of connections to find Emmitt and we are excited about this,” Crean said. “Chuck brings the whole package to Indiana and has the ability to identify players and their upsides, which adds to what we are about.”