Practicing against teammates like Sherrod Wright, a redshirt junior guard, who has about four inches, 40 pounds and three years of college experience on Holloway, was also a wake-up call. Wright considers it his duty to prepare Holloway for the college game; the two guard each other a lot in workouts.
“When we go at it in practice, I try to test him and make sure he’s working his hardest,” Wright said. “When people see him on defense, their eyes can light up because he’s smaller. They’ll try to push you, bully you.
“I try to get physical with him so he’ll be prepared. If he hits a couple shots, somebody may do something dirty with an elbow or put him on his back when he goes in the lane. He’s going through his freshman bumps like we all did. He’s starting to mature and take better shots and play harder defense. Those are things we need him to do and he’s doing them.”
Compared to early-season practices when Holloway was hitting the deck regularly, he’s holding his own. He even seeks out matchups against Wright, who leads the Patriots in scoring at 16.5 points a game.
“It was kind of embarrassing,” said Holloway of some early practices, who is averaging 5.4 points and 12.6 minutes per game while shooting 37.3 percent from beyond the arc. “I stopped looking at it as intimidation and looked at it as a way to get better. Now I like playing against Sherrod, because it’s going to make me better. He might score on me, he might push me down. But I know in the long run its going to help me.”
His body has been beaten up by the season; he’s committed to getting into the weight room in the offseason to bulk up. Still, he has handled the physical transition and the mental transition to the college game, not that it was easy.