Hollins heading to Montlake?

Dawgman.com spoke with Don Grant, head basketball coach for Muir High School in Pasadena, California. Grant coaches Ryan Hollins, a 6-11, 210-pound center prospect who has signed a letter of intent to play basketball at Saint Louis University. With Lorenzo Romar now heading up the hoops program at Washington, will Hollins try to follow the coach that recruited him to Seattle?

"I've had conversations with the AD at Saint Louis (Doug Wollard)," Grant said. "The fact is, the only reason Ryan was ever interested in Saint Louis was because of the relationship he developed with Coach Romar. He was recruited by Pac-10 schools, but he chose Saint Louis because of the bond he formed with Romar. Now things have changed, so we're taking one step at a time."

One thing that hasn't changed is Hollins' trust in the new Husky basketball coach. "That's one thing we've talked about," said Grant. "He hasn't lost any trust in Romar. Romar is a class coach and Ryan understands why he made the decision he did."

Ryan signed with the Billikens, so the ball is clearly in their court. "Ryan has to weigh his options," Grant said. "He has to go through Saint Louis. He is hoping he gets released. Right now he doesn't want to go there but he can understand their position. They want to have Ryan wait until he meets the new coach (Brad Soderberg) first before making his decision."

Grant stressed that neither Soderberg nor former SLU assistant Cameron Dollar (now on staff at Washington) were heavily involved with Hollins' recruitment. This was strictly a Romar thing. "Coach Romar was the one who pursuaded him, no one else," Don said. "Ryan really struggled with the decision. He's never really been that far away from home. And we hope they do release him. It's the fair thing to do. He's never seen the campus and doesn't have any other connection to Saint Louis. He's got no family in the midwest."

Oregon, Arizona State, USC all did home visits with Hollins before he eventually chose Saint Louis. "Oregon State also showed some interest, as well as some of the smaller west coast schools, like Pacific and San Diego State," Grant said. There's no question that if Ryan does get released that he'll be looking at schools out West, and expect Washington to be right in the mix, but that will happen even if the Billikens' decide to hold Hollins to his letter.

"His mood is great right now," Grant said. "He's taking everything in stride and feels confident that he'll be able to go where he wants to. He knows that even in the worst case all they can do is take a year away from his eligibility, but if that's what it takes for him to go where he wants to, that's the way it will be."

Ryan has only been playing organized ball for 3 years, so Grant has been an integral part of Hollins' support staff when it's come to making this decision. "The funny thing about Ryan is that he was cut of the freshman team," he said. "He was only 6-2. He hasn't played AAU ball, so I'm pretty much the only coach he's had. He's the most improved player in California over the past year."

Grant continues. "He had a tremendous growth spurt over the past two years and he's still growing. I expect he'll be a seven-footer by the time he plays in college." He admits Ryan isn't a banger, and compares him to former Arizona standout Loren Woods. "He's definitely more fleet-of-foot, an athletic, tall kid. He'll be a seven-footer who can run like the wind. He will need a lot of strength training no matter where he goes."

When Ryan finds out whether or not Saint Louis will hold him to his letter, we will be in touch with him to hear about his plans for the future. It's our feeling that Hollins is looking very seriously into following Lorenzo Romar to Washington and we'll see if that suspicion holds any merit in the coming weeks.

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