The Chesterton, Indiana native entered the season with a broken left hand and was out of commission for much of June. But since he was healed and the July open period started, Holba hasn’t taken his opportunity to play for granted.
“I was set back in the spring, I broke my left hand,” Holba said. “But I’m going back at it in July and it’s going pretty good.”
“Pretty good” is one way to describe it. Having already attracted the attention of schools like Indiana, Michigan, and Michigan State during his freshman year of high school, Holba is a young player who is already very impressive physically. At 6-foot-6, he can play a variety of positions. He’s also strong and his athleticism is above-average.
Because of his size, Holba was a center throughout his early playing days. His task this summer has been to expand his game — develop a comfort level with the ball in his hands on the perimeter, some handle, maybe even a jumpshot. According to his Meanstreets coach Chris Buggs, Holba’s game has finally started to flower this season.
“What we really worked on this summer was his guard game, skill-wise,” Buggs said. “Ballhandling, shooting, shooting, shooting. It’s coming slowly, but he’s starting to get it now.”
At Spiece Fieldhouse last weekend, Holba showed off some athleticism with a two-handed putback in traffic. He also exhibited the classic sign of a Chesterton upbringing: hustle. Holba has a great motor and if there was a loose ball in his vicinity on the court, you would find him on the ground clawing for it without fail. His style of play in that regard was reminiscent of a certain recent University of Michigan graduate.
“He’s always done all the blue-collar work—gets assists, defense, rebounds, blocks,” Buggs confirmed.
Holba has been in consistent contact with Michigan for quite some time. Last fall, he took a visit during a football game and went to the cookout with the team and coaches, even saying hello to Zack Novak, whom he grew up watching in Chesterton.
Holba said he consistently talks with the Michigan coaching staff over the phone or through text massaging. It appears the interest level is high on both sides. On a possible future visit, Holba said, “If they’re still looking, then yeah. It all depends on how I play, really.”
Holba is hearing from a few Big Ten schools, but his coach believes that later this summer word will heat up about his star player and he’ll start receiving more attention. Buggs said that although it took time, he’s excited to see what Holba will do during the high school season.
“It took some time to develop, but I really believe that in the high school season, he’s really going to blossom,” Buggs said. “Especially next year he’s really going to show a versatile game.”