Bloomington, Ind. – Eli Holman's Indiana basketball debut didn't include a dunk contest championship, but Friday was still a very good day for the Hoosiers' 6'9" freshman.
That's because Holman's two-month wait to be cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse came to an end early Friday afternoon, when IU Coach Kelvin Sampson received word that the Richmond, Cal., was officially given the green light to play this season.
Like everyone else on the team, Holman had been going through individual workouts for the last three weeks. Friday's news didn't come as a big surprise to Sampson, but it was a relief nonetheless.
"I think it was a matter of the winter sports vs. the fall sports," said Sampson, referring to the Clearinghouse needing to sort through the cases of fall sport athletes before moving on to the winter sports. "The longer it goes, obviously, you get a little bit concerned. But we were encouraged and confident the entire time."
Now that he has the NCAA's clearance to play, Holman will have to work on Sampson's approval to get on the court. With a talented frontline that includes the likes of D.J. White, Lance Stemler, Mike White, DeAndre Thomas and Brandon McGee, among others, minutes won't necessarily be that easy to come by.
"Eli isn't as far along as a guy like DeAndre," Sampson said. "Eli is 18 years old, DeAndre is 20. DeAndre has played two years of junior college basketball."
Whether minutes are plentiful or scarce, Sampson does see a great deal of potential in Holman in an IU uniform.
"I love his potential," Sampson said. "We're talking about a kid with a 7'7" wing span.
"Going against D.J. (White) every day, going against DeAndre every day. Even guarding a perimeter post like Brandon or Lance. All those things, all this will be new for him. Athletically he can play, but he has to learn to play at this level."
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Holman Gains Clearance
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