Owensboro High School senior power forward Aric Holman, who had previously announced he would reclassify to 2016 and attend prep school for a year, now plans to sign Thursday with Mississippi State, Owensboro coach Roderick Drake said Thursday morning.
The 6-foot-9 Holman, who helped the Red Devils to the state title and was a finalist for Mr. Basketball, officially visited Mississippi State over the weekend and came away impressed, Drake said. The coach said he’s developed a good relationship the past several weeks with McDonald’s All American MSU signee Malik Newman and believes he has a chance to start right away under new coach Ben Howland.
“We knew all along and I thought he was better than prep school, except for maybe needing a redshirt year,” Drake said. “I guess he finally got back down here and realized he could play and has changed his mind.
“I think (Howland) is going to be good for him. I’ve heard he’s a pretty tough coach, and I think that’s what Aric needs. I think if Aric listens to him, he’ll be a great player for him.”
Holman, an above-the-rim player at both ends with a nice offensive skill set, averaged 15.9 points, 9.8 rebounds and 4.9 blocks per game for Owensboro (31-4) this past season, including 20 points, 14 boards and eight blocks in the state championship game against Bowling Green. Holman shot 62.2 percent from the floor for the season, including 24 of 46 (52.2 percent) from 3-point range.
Holman was considered a target of the University of Louisville if he’d gone to the 2016 class. Rated the No. 70 player nationally by Rivals.com and No. 93 by Scout.com, Holman announced last fall that he planned to attend Hargrave Military Academy because he wanted to take a year to add muscle and expand his game, and that had remained the plan until recent weeks.
But because available big men – especially long, athletic, skilled ones like Holman – are hard to find this late in the 2015 cycle, he has recently become an immediate target of MSU, Texas, South Carolina and Miami while playing this spring with the Hoop Dreams AAU club on the Adidas circuit.
“He’s blossomed really from the state tournament on,” Drake said.
Drake said Holman had initially planned to visit Texas next weekend – a trip that now will be canceled.
He officially visited Western Kentucky, VCU and Xavier last fall before deciding to reclassify. He also took multiple visits to U of L. Drake said the Cardinals and Holman have not had been in serious contact recently, though he thinks U of L would have remained an option if Holman wanted to go to 2016.
Drake said Holman will report to summer school at Mississippi State in a couple weeks but still plans to play for the Kentucky All-Stars in their series with Indiana next month.