Emmitt Holt decided at first, that a prep school was the way to go for him after his days as a high school basketball player at Webster Schroeder came to an end last winter.
A year to grow taller, stronger and wiser might not hurt, Holt said. Maybe a few college basketball teams from a major conference, would join the mid-major schools who offered him scholarships, too.
Holt never made it to Vermont Academy. Along came an offer from the Indiana University Hoosiers, one of the most famous teams in college basketball, and Holt is headed to the heart of Big 10 Conference country in the Midwest instead of East.
Holt, who is listed at 6-feet-7 and 220 pounds, told Hoosiers coaches Wednesday that he will accept the team’s last scholarship for the most recent class of high school graduates. While Holt was a finalist for the Basketball Coaches Association of New York’s Mr. Basketball award, the offer from Indiana was a surprise.
Holt wanted to talk about his change in plans but spent Wednesday flying back to Rochester.
The amount of interest from schools during recruiting puzzled Webster Schroeder coach Matt Spadoni to a point.
“I’m not surprised, though I am surprised that it happened so quickly,” Spadoni said. “I’m not surprised since it was his goal to play at the highest level.
“I think Emmitt has unlimited potential, he kept getting better and better. 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 averaged 19.8 points, 14.6 rebounds and 5 blocks during his final season with Webster Schroeder, on a team where he was asked occassionally to dribble the ball upcourt like a guard.
Coaches with the Albany City Rocks, an Amateur Athletic Union program that Holt played in, said that interest in the two-time Democrat and Chronicle All-Greater Rochester team member began to climb in the spring, and that he had at least 25 scholarship offers midway through the summer.
Holt, at one point, led the Elite Youth Basketball League in blocked shots. The EYBL includes AAU teams that carry high school players listed among the nation’s top 100 recruits in their class.
While Holt ran into some difficulty during the final, Holt averaged 21 points, 13 rebounds and 4 blocked shots during the AAU Under-17 11th-grade Division I tournament in Louisville last month.
“Emmitt was the (team’s) leading scorer, rebounder and shot blocker,” Albany City Rocks assistant and Bishop Kearney varsity girls coach Kevan Sheppard said. “He was the man.”
It may have been the high point of the summer for Holt, until Wednesday.
“I think he’ll represent Section V well,” Spadoni said. “I think he’s going to surprise some people, I really do. He’s a great kid, a wonderful person.”