It’s not often that you find a player as talented as Rondae Hollis-Jefferson that accepts his role so well, but that may be what makes him one of the most unique players in the country.
“I think personally I am doing a really good job at the things I am good at,” Hollis-Jefferson said. "I am still working on a lot of things, but my role is my role.
“Everyone knows it is to guard the best player and bring that energy, to do everything basically. I think I am doing one of the best jobs in the country at doing that.”
Hollis-Jefferson’s approach has not gone unnoticed by his teammates.
“I don’t think there is a word to describe how Rondae has played,” T.J. McConnell said. “To put it in perspective for you, he has to learn three positions in practice every day and he guards the team’s best player no matter the size, one through four.
“I have never seen a player do what he has done this year and pretty much it has been remarkable.”
Defense is something that Hollis-Jefferson takes pride in, which is likely why he is considered to be the best defender in the conference.
“I want to say I go into the game with the same mindset,” he said. “Coach will tell us, ‘We need you to stop this player. We need you to guard this player.’ My mindset is the same.
“Limit his shot attempts because I know the shots he won’t get on me, he will probably get on another player, so I just try to limit those shots that he takes.
“The ones he is used to making, I try to take them away from him. You give him a little cushion just in case he does score six points on someone else, he didn’t score any on me.”
It’s that approach that has become contagious and acted as a challenge to the rest of the Wildcats.
“If you see a guy at his size being able to guard a one and then having to switch on to a four, it just shows you how tough his night could be defensively and he rises to the challenge every time,” McConnell said.
“When he goes out of the game for a minute and I go onto his man, he walks by me and is like ‘If this guy scores, I’m going to kill you.’ It kind of puts pressure on me to strap down on defense.”
Hollis-Jefferson was able to accept his role early on in his career, which is a major reason why he has been successful so far.
“I’m a lot better because a lot of people go into the game saying they have to do this or I have to play a certain way or if my numbers don’t look like this, people won’t look at me,” he said.
“At the end of the day, the people that matter and are looking at you know what type of team you’re on. They know what type of player you are.
“Just doing what you are used to and having a team mindset, our coach always says with a team’s success comes individual accolades.”