Bowling Green forward Richaun Holmes has been on a roller coaster ride over the last few months. After ending his college career on a down note, losing his final game in the CIT to Canisius, Holmes was invited to play the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (PIT) where he really caught the eye and attention of several scouts. Since then, his stock has been on the rise. He was invited to the NBA combine and has been working out for NBA teams ever since. His play at the PIT along with his showing at the combine and subsequent workouts have cemented himself as a player who will hear his name called Thursday evening at the draft. We got a chance to catch up with Holmes recently to ask him about what he’s been doing since the season ended, how he feels about the draft process thus far and what he’s most looking forward to in the coming weeks.
NBADraft.net: What have the last few weeks been like for you?
Holmes: These last couple of weeks have been a dream come true, honestly. I’ve always wanted the opportunity to get a chance to play in the NBA. Getting the opportunity to work out for different teams and difference coaches has really been fun. It has been hectic, but it has definitely been fun.
NBADraft.net: What have you been up to as you prepare for the Draft?
Holmes: I’ve just been working out a lot. I’ve been working hard with my old AAU coach down in Chicago and also with my coaches at school (Bowling Green). I’ve just been trying to keep myself in shape. Working hard every day on the court and doing the little things so that my body stays healthy and ready. Just putting in the time to continue to get better and keep developing my game.
NBADraft.net: You got a chance to compete and really shine at the PIT. What was that experience like for you?
Holmes: It was really great. I really didn’t know what to expect after the season ended. But I got the invite there where I got a chance to compete with some of the top seniors in the nation. I was really honored to be considered for it. I really hadn’t heard much about the Tournament in college but it gave me the opportunity to go out on a bigger stage and show what I can do against better talent. I just wanted to make the best of my experience there because I knew that it could be a stepping stone to the NBA and a chance to be seen by a lot of scouts. It is a great opportunity for guys like myself who played at small colleges.
NBADraft.net: What was some of the feedback you got back from Coaches and Scouts there?
Holmes: One of the biggest things they told me was that they liked my motor. They like the way I run the floor and the way I defend. They told me that I needed to continue to work on my body and my strength which will help me a lot at the next level as I’m going up against bigger and stronger guys on a nightly basis.
NBADraft.net: I’ve read a lot about your relationship with Coach Luis Orr, how much of your development as a basketball player as well as a person would you attribute to the work he’s done with you over the last few years?
Holmes: Coach Orr and I definitely had a great relationship. He really gives a lot to his players. He wanted to see us all succeed not only on the floor but off the floor as well. He was very adamant about developing us so that we became better people and not just better basketball players. He is a God fearing man, much like myself. And I really just connected with him. He helped me mature as a basketball player and as an individual and genuinely thank him for that.
NBADraft.net: I also know that you and your family are strong in your Faith. How has that helped you along this path towards the NBA?
Holmes: My Faith has been everything. Just being able to trust in God whether things are going your way or not. My Faith has really helped me stay focus and not listen to the naysayers and people saying that I wasn’t going to be seen because I went to a small school. I’ve just always trusted in God’s plan for my life and always continued to work hard and to my part and know that He will handle the rest. I just try to put Him first in everything that I do. I’ve always been taught that if you do that He will direct your way. I’ve never really worried about what tomorrow might bring because I know that He has my back.
NBADraft.net: What teams have you worked out for thus far?
Holmes: I’ve worked out for about 15 or 16 teams. Among those teams are San Antonio, Dallas, Portland, both LA teams (Lakers & Clippers) and Golden State to name a few. It has been crazy but at the same time it is a blessing and I’m just grateful for every opportunity that I’ve been given and try to make sure that I’m not taking anything for granted.
NBADraft.net: What have been some of the positives and negatives that have come out of your workouts?
Holmes: I really can’t find a negative at all. I’ve been having so much fun throughout the process. Like I said, I’m just excited to get the chance to workout in front of these teams. There really isn’t a negative side to it. The whole experience has been really positive. Just getting a chance to talk with some of the scouts, GM’s and others in the organization so see what ways I can improve and do things better.
NBADraft.net: What has been the most difficult part of the draft process?
Holmes: The grind honestly. Flying from city to city and workout out for different teams almost on a daily basis can wear on you a little. Seems like you are just jumping on one plane to another and working out for one team right after another. It all runs together a little. But I look at it as an opportunity of a lifetime. There are thousands of people out there who would love to be in this position. So I really don’t see anything to complain about.
NBADraft.net: Do you like all of the attention coming your way or would you rather stay behind the scenes?
Holmes: I’ve always been a guy who likes to stay behind the scenes. I don’t really like to have all of the attention on me. I just want to enjoy every moment I have to play the game of basketball. I appreciate the attention but I just want to stay grounded, level headed and continue to just play basketball without worrying too much about everything else.
NBADraft.net: What would you say is your biggest strength and what would you say is your biggest weakness on the court?
Holmes: I would say my biggest strength is my motor and how active I am on the court at all times. I try to run the floor at all times, continue to be as active as I can on the glass, help out on defense, block shots and just affecting the game positively with my motor and intensity. And as far as a weakness, one of the things that I’ve been working the hardest on is my ball handling skills. I see myself as more of a stretch four that can take my man off the dribble, shoot mid-range jumpers when I have to but also be able to back my man down in the post. I want to be versatile in that way and I know that me improving my ball handling skills will really help out with that. I see what Terrance Jones does on the court and the way he’s able to create shots for himself off the dribble so I just want to be able to give my team that option.
NBADraft.net: What are your plans on Draft night?
Holmes: It is going to be me and my family. The people who have been there with me since day one. I just want them to be there to share this moment with me. We are going to meet up at Bowling Green and try to enjoy the night together.
NBADraft.net: There seems to be a stigma about players who played their college ball at a smaller school like Bowling Green. That they aren’t on the same level as those guys who go to power conference schools. What would you say to those people?
Holmes: I would just tell them that I can play against anyone. I feel like I’ve proven that both during the season, at the combine and also at the PIT. I think people get too caught up in going to a big school. Going to smaller schools has advantages as well. I was able to play a lot more, develop and showcase my skills as opposed to sitting on the end of a bench somewhere else. I just feel like at the end of the day, no matter where you play, it is still basketball at the end of the day.
NBADraft.net: Is there a player in the NBA that you try and model your game after?
Holmes: I definitely look up to Tristan Thompson. His work ethic, his motor and how active he is. It seems like he grabs every offensive rebound there is. You can just tell he works hard every night and gives it his all. I want to be guy like that. I want people to know that I’m going to work hard every night, go to the glass hard and do all of the little things that help my team win games. So, yeah, he’s definitely a guy I look up to.
NBADraft.net: If I’m an NBA GM, tell me why I should draft you.
Holmes: You should draft me because I’m going to work hard. I’ll be the hardest working guy on the floor every single night, in practice, in the weight room, in the film room or wherever I need to be. I’ll do whatever it takes to put my team in the best position to win. I’m going to be a great teammate. I can come off the bench to give guys breaks or I can start. Whatever it takes and whatever my team needs me to do, I’m going to do it. That’s just the way I am.
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