Holt, Zeisloft discuss improving their game

After one season with the Hoosiers, Emmitt Holt and Nick Zeisloft finally have had the chance to go through an entire summer of workouts. The extra time has allowed both to improve and expand their game, which they talk about here.

Emmitt Holt and Nick Zeisloft joined Indiana late last summer. So while the rest of the team was going through those workouts, both late Hoosier signees were unable to participate and had to watch as a result.

This summer is different.

With a full year with the team under their belt, both Holt and Zeisloft have been able to make the most of their first full summer of offseason workouts. It’s allowed both to develop their games as well.

“I felt like it would have helped a lot, to be honest,” Holt said, when asked if it would’ve helped him to be able to participate in summer workouts last season. “Even this summer, I gained like 10 pounds of muscle just being here, so I feel like it would’ve helped me out a lot. But, had to work with what we had.”

Despite being with the Hoosiers for only one year so far, both Holt and Zeisloft figure to be key returning players on a team expected to be ranked in the top 15 this upcoming season.

Holt provided valuable frontcourt minutes for Indiana after it lost Devin Davis and Hanner Mosquera-Perea to injuries. Davis and Mosquera-Perea were dismissed from the program in mid-May, so Holt might be seeing more minutes this upcoming season.

Despite the return of Troy Williams, who played extensive minutes at power forward last season, and the addition of Thomas Bryant, frontcourt size still remains as thin as last season.

Holt said the 10 pounds of muscle Holt has added this summer increased his weight to 230. He’ll likely see more minutes this season with the added size as well. Last season, he averaged 11.4 minutes per game.

“(I’m) just growing as a player, growing as a student,” Holt said.

Even though Holt shot 65 percent from the field and committed 11 turnovers last season, he said he’s still working on his perimeter shot as well as his ball-handling skills.

“I’m definitely trying to develop my shot now, especially beyond the arc,” Holt said. “ I’m trying to improve my handles, including my left hand so that I can drive more often and kick. Those are my main focuses right now.”

Zeisloft, who averaged 6.6 points in 19.6 minutes per game, has been developing more than just a couple areas of his game, including getting to the foul line.

Out of seven IU players who averaged at least 19 minutes per game, Zeisloft’s 17 free throw attempts ranked lowest among them. Holt and former Hoosiers Stanford Robinson and Max Hoetzel all played fewer minutes but got to the line more often than him last season.

“I’m working on ball screens, making plays for others, and drawing fouls so that I can get to the free throw line,” Zeisloft said. “Drawing fouls is a big key with Coach (Crean). Defensively, guarding the best guys that I can – James (Blackmon Jr.), Troy (Williams), Collin (Hartman), Yogi (Ferrell) and Rob (Johnson). I’m even working against the bigs.”

Zeisloft said he was a center before he was a guard, so it makes sense that he’s working against some of Indiana’s frontcourt players. It also explains why he’s expanding his game in other areas.

“I wouldn’t call it ‘branching out’ so much as I would call it improving, and being able do more with what you work on every day,” he said. “I’m not just shooting every day – I’m working on driving, shot fakes, getting to the rim, my mid-range game, drawing fouls, and posting up every day. I’m not trying to stick with what I’ve done before. I’m looking to improve every day.”

There’s still time left in the summer for both Zeisloft and Holt to continue improving, and both seem to be enjoying being with the team for a full summer.

“It’s definitely good for me to be here this summer considering that I wasn’t here at all last summer,” Holt said. “It’s a great experience. I feel like we come together as a team and we’re getting better everyday.”

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