After three years of playing on foreign soil, Tu Holloway is back in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Tu got a preseason look from the Dallas Mavericks, but it didn't work out. Now he's playing in the D-League for the Texas Legends and doing Tu Holloway things. Specifically, he's averaging 19.7/3.3/6.5 with 1.5 steals per game on .434/.370/.882 shooting. That is, you've no doubt noticed, a pretty handsome line.
The knock on Tu has always been his underwhelming measurables. He's listed at 6'0", 190. He has never looked like the fastest guy on the court like LAJ or Edmond Sumner does. He doesn't pour home buckets like he was born to do it the way Jordan Crawford does. He never dunked over Octavius Ellis. I'd be surprised to learn that he dunked over anyone. His dribble-driving style is less breaking a defender down and blowing by him and more, in the words of the inestimable Joe Sunderman, "a man searching for the light switch in a dark room."
Despite that, Tu has always had the game on a string. Watching him play in the D-League is like looking back in time to his days at Xavier. Witness him patiently work off of a ball screen until the floor opens for a drive or a pass. Witness him sink into the same familiar knock-kneed crouch before rising for a jump shot. Witness him walk to the line with the confidence of a man who knows the outcome of his free throw shooting experience is a foregone conclusion. He's still not moving faster or jumping higher than everyone else; he's still getting to the spots on the floor that his team needs him to.
Holloway will turn 27 this August. He has spent the last three years expanding an honing his bag of tricks in places where he doesn't speak the language and won't show up on TV. He left guaranteed money on the table in Venezuela to come back and play in the D-League because he knows this is his last best shot at getting onto a roster and then onto the floor in the NBA. The clock is running out on him, but that's always when he has been at his best. All he needs is for one team to get him the ball.
The clock is ticking on Tu's Association dream. He is back in the USA playing to catch the eye of NBA franchises in hope of landing a contract.
By Joel D