Player Preview: Tu Holloway

There's not a lot that can be said about Tu Holloway that hasn't been covered by numerous national publications. Holloway has shown up on innumerable preseason All-Conference and All-American teams as well as some of the more influential watch lists to be had. It's really no secret why; the generously listed 6' guard (he measured 5'10" in his socks at the NBA combine) proved to be worthy of mention along with Jordan Crawford, David West, and other recent Xavier greats as one of the most dynamic players in Muskie history.
 
If you have more than a passing interest in college hoops (and if you don't, why are you here?), you don't need me to give you Holloway's entire resume, so I'll keep this brief. He committed to Indiana under Kelvin Sampson before being released from that when Sampson's recruiting scandal broke. Not heavily rated, he landed at X. His numbers have improved every season, and his insane work ethic is widely known and probably the reason he is able to take games over as they leak into overtime. Holloway is also possessed with a competitive streak a mile wide and is something less than shy about it on the court.


The elements of his personality that drive his game can also show up in negative ways on the court. When games went sideways last year, Tu showed a tendency to take the burden on himself. His competitiveness can also sometimes border on petulance, as was played out in the Crosstown Shootout last year when his trailing arm after a foul could have easily been mistaken for a punch thrown at a UC player. The bottom line is that Tu is a driven competitor and the clear floor leader of this Xavier team.
 
Best case: Despite the fact that he's starting the season one game later than everyone else, Tu immediately establishes that the offense flows through him. Lost in his scoring exploits last year was his nature as a point guard; with more weapons around him than ever before, Holloway is able to put the ball in the hands of the player in the best position to score. That's often him, but his ability to help his teammates develop into weapons the opponent needs to respect pushes the whole team forward. When crunch time comes, Holloway closes out games like Trevor Hoffman. Tu once again leads X in PPG and APG, and a deep and balanced attack makes a serious run into the NCAA tournament.
 
Worst case: When you're a player good enough to get looks from the NBA as a junior, even your worst case scenario isn't that bad. Tu comes back looking to prove that he is a first-round talent as a scorer. In the process, he once again takes too much of the team's load on himself and the players around him can't find a rhythm. The offensive misfires lead to frustration and underachievement from the team. Tu once again leads X in PPG and APG, but the team makes a disappointing early exit from the postseason for the second year in a row.
 
Most likely:
Holloway is a driven competitor who rightly carries a good deal of confidence in his own abilities, but his intelligence as a player is often underrated. He was more than willing to defer to Jordan Crawford during his brief time at Xavier, and Tu's own ascent as primary scorer came only in the vacuum Crawford left. He has plenty of weapons around him to keep the team afloat on the rare night he's misfiring, and I think he understands that. He'll occasionally try to force his way into a game, but that should be expected from a senior PG. Tu will be able to get his while keeping everyone else involved as well, and we could be looking at a historic run for the Xavier program this year.

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