Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
GREENBURGH, N.Y. –– Growing up in Hempstead, N.Y., Tu Holloway had to rely on his grandmother, Mary, to put food in the refrigerator.
But the way he figures it, if he gets chosen by the Knicks or the Nets in the NBA Draft, Holloway will be able to do the providing in his household.
“I live with my grandmother so I’ll be definitely be eating out of her fridge but I’ll be the one putting the food in there this time,” the 6-foot Holloway said Wednesday after working out for the Knicks, who own the No. 48 pick in the Draft.
“I’m pretty sure everyone in my family is hoping the Knicks or the Nets take me.”
Holloway worked out in front of decision-makers from all 30 NBA teams last weekend at the Nets’ facility in New Jersey and has also been seen by the San Antonio Spurs, L.A. Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers. He has upcoming workouts with the Houston Rockets (Friday), the Golden State Warriors (Monday) and the Chicago Bulls (June 4) before he competes in the Chicago Pre-Draft Combine early next month.
But the Knicks are in need of a point guard or two to add depth to their rotation around Jeremy Lin, whom they hope to re-sign. Holloway worked out against Syracuse’s Scoop Jardine and former Iona point guard Scott Machado is due in Thursday morning.
“I know people [are] saying I could be a late second-round pick and I know the Knicks have the 48th pick,” Holloway said. “And I feel like they’re looking really seriously at drafting a point guard or two.”
No one doubts that Holloway, who left Long Island to attend Harmony Prep in Cincinnati to get more structure in his life and aid in his recruitment, is a winner.
His Xavier teams won 100 games in four seasons (25 wins per year), while making four NCAA Tournament appearances, including three Sweet 16s. He also won three A-10 regular season titles in four years. Last year he averaged 17.5 points and 4.9 assists for head coach Chris Mack.
But there are questions about his character and his size.
Holloway was involved in the messy Xavier-Cincinnati brawl last season and later said his team has “a whole bunch of gangsters.”
Now, he gets asked about those comments after every workout.
“It is what it is with the brawl,” Holloway said.
“I’m a clean-cut guy. I never had any legal issues, never had any off-campus issues. Teams ask you a lot of questions and they do their research on you and I’m pretty sure teams can see that I’m just a clean-cut guy.”
As for his diminutive size, he says people are always surprised to meet him in person for the first time.
“Wow, you’re Tu Holloway, you’re only 5-11 or 6 feet,” they tell him.
“I just laugh and say, ‘This is me. I’m only 6 feet. This is it.'”
Still, Holloway points to his 6-5 wingspan, the size of his hands and his leadership skills as “intangibles” that others don’t have.
“I feel like all of that outweighs me being 6 feet,” he said.
One veteran NBA scout believes Holloway will make the league and can help a team going forward.
“Second-round pick,” the scout told SNY.tv. “A tough, feisty guy. Better athlete than most people realize. Can get in the lane and proved in his career he could and would make big shots. Will make the league.”
With more workouts and the Chicago combine on the horizon, Holloway has a busy few weeks ahead.
But when it’s all over, he hopes he’s living in his old bedroom in Hempstead, finally able to fill up the fridge for grandma.
“I do know if the Knicks pick me,” he said, “I’m going to live in my bedroom in Hempstead in the house I grew up in.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.