Jaron Faulds knows it’s not enough for him to be an imposing figure in the paint.
That’s why the 6-foot-10 senior center has made it a point to become more than that for the Holt boys basketball team this season.
“Being a big – there’s no such thing as true center anymore,” Faulds said. “You have to be a stretch four or stretch five. You have to be able to step out and to the mid-range and even the 3-point arc eventually. I’m actually working on that too. If you can add some range to your game, you can be hard to guard. I’ve been constantly working on it over the summer and fall. I’ve built up my confidence and got a lot of shots up. It’s starting to show, and I’m happy about it.”
Faulds displayed his comfort from mid-range in last week’s season opener against Waverly, stepping out and draining shots from the baseline and around the free-throw line.
Holt coach Matt Essell said that has been one of the biggest areas of growth this season for Faulds, who signed on to continue his basketball career at Division I Columbia University last month.
“That’s become pretty natural for him,” Essell said. “That’s not something he’s ever done before. I can only think of a handful of jumpers he’s really hit in his career before this year. He’s gotten really comfortable (in the mid-range). We’ve got a few plays where we try to give him some catches at the high post, because he can be a threat there. We’re going to see a ton of zone this year, so we’ve been working in the high-post area against the zone.
“I think that’s probably the biggest (improvement) is his ability to shoot the jumper. Plus, he’s gotten a little stronger.”
Faulds, who is averaging 14.2 points while helping the Rams to a 3-1 record and a 2-0 mark in the CAAC Blue, has also become more aggressive and vocal as a leader.
Essell believes those elements have Faulds primed to build off a strong junior season, during which he earned Associated Press Class A honorable mention all-state recognition.
“I think he’s going to have a huge year,” Essell said. “He had a really good year last year, but I think this year he just seems more aggressive and kind of taken more on his shoulders and being more vocal.”
But Faulds wants to have more than a strong season individually and said winning is the top priority.
‘“I think we have a great group of seniors,” Faulds said. “We’re all on the same page where we all want to win. It doesn’t matter if you score 20 points or what kind of game you have, (because) if we lost then none of that matters. We’re starting to build that culture that the win is more important than the individual stats.”