Far from a household name, Aric Holman has been on our radar since 2017, floating between 50-100 on the Hoops Prospects Draft Board for the last two years. He’s a lean stretch four, with a smooth outside shot and shot-blocking skills. He’s also a bit of enigma because of his inconsistency. This season as a senior, he led the Bulldogs, by far, in 3-point percentage (42.9 percent) and tied for the team lead in blocks with 1.6 per game. Playing 24.4 minutes per game, he also averaged 9.5 points and 6.2 rebounds while shooting 47.3 percent from the floor and 70.1 percent form the free-throw line.
Highlights of one Holman’s better games from this season (vs. Arizona State) are below.
Holman’s time at Mississippi State had its ups and downs. As a junior, he made 57.3 percent of his shots, including 44 percent from beyond the arc, while averaging nearly 11 points, seven boards, and two blocks per game. He also finished his junior season by ranking in the top 5 in the Southeastern Conference with a player efficiency rating (PER) of 25.6 and a plus-minus of 10.2.
Holman and his teammates entered this season with very high hopes. He was one of six key veterans returning, and the squad was further bolstered by two highly regarded freshmen. In the fall, Holman made a point to say that he was committed to playing defense, one of the things that he did not do with consistency. Unfortunately for him, that commitment did not show up on the floor. By late January, freshman Reggie Perry emerged and eventually replaced Holman in the starting lineup, greatly reducing the senior’s minutes.
|Position:||PF||Team/Class:||Mississippi State (Sr.)|
|Wingspan:||7-2||Vertical:||27.5 inches (standing) and 33.5 (max)|
|Shot Hand:||Right||Stats:||Click here|
- Makes a high percentage of 3s, and has nice form from both the 3-point and the free-throw line.
- Excellent on the catch and shoot; ranked at the 92nd percentile for points per possession (PPP) this season.
- Very good scoring on cuts to the basket; ranked at the 97th percentile for PPP last season.
- Shows potential as a pick-and-roll player.
- Good wingspan and productive shot blocker
- Solid rebounder
- Lack of effort, awareness, decisiveness, physicality, and aggression negatively impacts him on both ends of the court.
- Poor defender; ranked at the 33rd percentile for PPP allowed this season.
- Doesn’t show a great deal of ability to score off the dribble.
- Not a productive scorer in the post; ranked at the 15th percentile for PPP this season.
- Needs more muscle and not a great athlete – tested poorly at the Portsmouth Invitational.
This season, nearly half of Holman’s offensive possessions come from either spot-up or post-up touches. He appears to be far more comfortable doing the former, catching and shooting away from the fray. Holman has a smooth jump shot and good range. He’s not a huge threat to drive from the perimeter, but he can knock down some shots via slide steps or step-backs.
In the post, Holman is a below-average scorer. He doesn’t play with a lot of physicality, tends to get pushed around, and doesn’t do a good job of making himself available. He is highly indecisive when he does receive the ball, partially because he can’t power his way to the rim, and his footwork/handle can be shaky. He is, however, capable of turning with either shoulder (better going left) and finishing with either hand, including left-hand hooks. He also shows potential with turnaround fade-aways.
As a team, Mississippi State is not a heavy user of pick-and-roll plays, so Holman did not receive a lot of touches in this fashion (a total of 55 possessions over the past two seasons). On those limited touches, he was extremely effective when rolling, averaging 1.75 points per possession (PPP), and via the pick and pop, he was solid, averaging .94 PPP. What’s not counted in these stats are the number of times that he did not move with a sense of urgency after setting picks, and subsequently, did not receive the ball.
The rest of Holman’s offense mainly comes from three other areas: cuts to the basket, transition, and put-backs. As a junior, he was good-to-excellent at all three. As a senior, he was above average on cuts and in transition, but very poor on put-backs.
The loss at Alabama on January 29 sealed Holman’s fate. His defense in that contest was abysmal, and it was his last start of the season. He repeatedly failed to rotate and stop penetration, among other things.
The Alabama game was not an anomaly – Holman had similar problems for much of his career. When switching, rotating, or recovering, he is frequently a step late, partially due to a lack of effort, a lack of awareness, and/or indecision. He also is not the fleetest of foot, which doesn’t help. When defending on the perimeter or in transition, he is often very casual in his approach, taking his time picking up his man and giving up too much space. In the post, he is not physical or aggressive – there is little denying or fighting for position, with hands down and feet flat.
The one thing Holman does do well on the defensive end is block shots. For three consecutive seasons, he has ranked in the top 10 in the SEC for block percentage. He boasts a 7-foot-2 wingspan, and he displays good timing and quickness off the floor. Holman could be even better in this area if he was more aggressive, but he passes on his share of opportunities for blocks. The fact that he has averaged less than two fouls per game in both of the last two seasons is a good indication that he doesn’t play with enough aggression.
Holman is also a solid defensive rebounder, averaging no worse than 19.4 percent for defensive rebounding percentage over the past three seasons. He’ll never be confused with Moses Malone, but he gives pretty good effort in this area.
Intangibles and Miscellaneous
Having scouted Holman a number of times over the past two years, I cannot recall a more perplexing player. Numerous times throughout my notes, there is a comment about a fantastic play that he made, only to be followed by a comment about a horrendous play. The majority of the bad comments are related to one critical but simple thing – a lack of effort, which mainly manifests on defense, but also appears on the offensive end. Some of his mistakes seem to be due to a lack of awareness and/or indecision. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell why he doesn’t do what he supposed to, but those incidents are more frequent than they should be.
I had my doubts about Holman last season, when his statistics were fantastic. This season, his efficiency plummeted in a number of areas, he was eventually benched, and questions about his effort and awareness still remain. He certainly has the length and shooting touch to be effective at the next level, but that’s not enough. The glimmer of hope is that he does have flashes of brilliance, and if he could somehow have those moments with far greater frequency, he just might get a shot in the NBA.
Sources, Credits, and Acknowledgements: Stats used in our scouting reports mainly come from Synergy Sports Technology and RealGM.com, and occasionally from Hoop-Math.com and Sports-Reference.com. Some background information and the photo were courtesy of Mississippi State Athletics. Other outside sources are noted with links to the source.