The impact junior power forward Jonathan Holmes had for the Texas Longhorns last season was much more than what initially meets the eye. He was the lone true veteran, the leader and the glue that held a very young and inexperienced rotation of underclassmen together.
At the conclusion of the Longhorns’ 2013-14 campaign, Holmes showed to be the leading scorer on the team at 12.8 points per contest, despite taking 89 fewer shots than Isaiah Taylor and 109 fewer attempts than Javan Felix. Holmes was the team’s second leading rebounder as well with 7.2 per game. With numbers like this and the consideration of how and when he stepped up as a scorer when this freshman-laden team was searching for points, the impact he has will surely be needed for Texas to be legitimate contenders for the Big 12 Championship next season.
But for Rick Barnes‘ squad next season, the paint could become significantly more congested if the nation’s No. 2 overall recruit Myles Turner commits to Texas on Wednesday. Despite his massive 7-foot, 240-pound frame, Turner is not a traditional center; instead he will likely play the stretch power forward role given his athleticism and shooting touch. This would severely limit the minutes that Jonathan is so casually accustomed to, and deservedly so based on the rare talent that Turner brings, if he were to commit.
So what does this mean for Holmes and the role he will play during his final season in Austin? Well, just as I mentioned in a post about Javan Felix and his role for next season, Holmes’ minutes and role will vary depending on how well he embraces the change of the team. Again, this is assuming Texas, the favorite for Turner, lands him in Austin.
If Holmes doesn’t want to play well with the adjustments Barnes makes given the new roster due to his lack of talent in comparison to Turner, his role on the team will surely decrease. In addition to the possibility of Turner, Texas’ frontcourt is already loaded with Cameron Ridley, Prince Ibeh and Connor Lammert, which makes minutes that much harder to come by. But even with a Turner commitment, Holmes will still undoubtedly be the second-best power forward on the roster and should lose significant time to Lammert.
If the situation with Holmes plays out like this, it will have a negative effect on the Texas program that has followed a “team-first” mindset that Barnes has instilled.
On the other hand, Holmes can put a valiant effort towards modifying his game this offseason by developing his jump shot and ball handling skills drastically. This would allow him to slide over and play on the wing in several situations as well as ensure plenty more touches come his direction, which he missed out on at times when the young guards couldn’t find ways to feed the big men in the paint. In this case, Holmes will see his role on the team, point production and ultimately draft stock in increase as a result. But given the maturity he has shown and the obedience this team shows to Rick Barnes’ guidance, this option seems much more realistic and is what we will likely see from Holmes next season.