Former NBA player Essie Hollis told his son, Damian, that his recruiting would reach a more fevered pitch. But the 6'7" Coral Springs, Fla., product didn't anticipate this.
After receiving the sporadic letter during the winter and spring months, the Taravella H.S. product has seen the letters and the phone calls increase dramatically, if not exponentially. Once considered a mid-major recruit, the interest in Hollis has exploded in recent weeks.
"It's been crazy," said Hollis, just days after returning from Las Vegas where he played with the South Florida Heat AAU squad. "I assumed it would pick up some, but I didn't know that it was going to pick up this much. My dad kept saying it would, but I didn't believe him."
Hollis has made believers out of many with his play this summer on the AAU circuit. At the recently-completed Las Vegas events, he was one of the players that drew a slew of college coaches as on-lookers.
"I've been playing okay, and a lot of people have seen a lot of potential I guess, so they've started sending me stuff," said Hollis.
Indiana is one of those schools that had already taken notice of the south Florida standout. A second-team All-Broward County pick in 2005, IU Coach Mike Davis has seen Hollis first hand this summer, and Hollis said Indiana is one of the schools that recently offered him a scholarship.
Indiana joins Seton Hall, Tennessee, Florida Atlantic, Miami (Fla.) and Wyoming among those programs showing interest.
"(Indiana) has been following me for a while," said Hollis. "I think they were really one of the first schools to start recruiting me. It's a school that I do have interest in right now."
It's likely, though, that the Hoosiers and all of Hollis' other suitors will have to wait for an answer about his college destination. With so much attention cropping up as of late, Hollis isn't in a rush to judgment.
"I think I'm going to wait until the late signing period," said Hollis. "I just don't want to feel rushed, and I think with the early signing period, I'll feel that way. I want to take it slow."
What college coaches have seen this summer is a versatile player that can go inside or out. The 6'7", 190-pounder is being recruited by most colleges to play small forward and shooting guard, although he's proven he can play just about anywhere on the floor at the prep level.
"In high school I play everything," said Hollis, who averaged 20.1 points per game as a junior, helping Taravella H.S. to a trip to the school's first-ever regional. "But colleges have been talking mostly about the 3 and the 2. Sometimes the 4, and rarely the 1 and rarely the 5."
Hollis is being helped through the process by his parents, including father Essie. Essie Hollis was a standout at St. Bonaventure in the late 1970s, before being a second-round NBA draft pick and spending one year with the Detroit Pistons. From there, Essie spent 12 years playing overseas.
A 6-6 forward, Essie ranks fifth on St. Bonaventure's all-time scoring list (1,905 points) and ranks second to former NBA great Bob Lanier in rebounds (977) at the Atlantic 10 school. He was also a 1988 inductee into the St. Bonaventure Athletics Hall of Fame.
Despite his father's experience with the process, though, even he can't help to be inquisitive about what his son's intentions are.
"This is an exciting time for me, but it's also overwhelming because even my parents are like, ‘which school are you going to go to?'" said Hollis. "At this point, I really don't know. But I have so many schools to choose from, which is good to know."
Hoosiers, Others Target Florida's Hollis
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