DESOTO, Texas — No one has to inspire Frank Hollis to exhibit energy and assertiveness for a big game.
Take, for instance, Hollis’ memorable showing during his sophomore season when he starred at combo guard for Bishop Lynch High in Dallas.
While squaring off against a Prestonwood Christian team that was led by former Kentucky star Julius Randle, Hollis demonstrated time and again that he could compete against the top players in the country.
Randle, who’s projected as a lottery pick in the NBA draft in the coming weeks, found this out firsthand.
While in transition, the 6-foot-9 Randle penetrated hard to the basketball against an undersized Hollis, who stands at 6-foot-3. But in a dramatic sequence of events, Randle’s attempt was swatted by Hollis.
Hollis, as it turns out, wound up on the wrong end of a heads-up play that drew rave reviews from spectators.
“It was a clean block,” Hollis told MemphiSport on Saturday. “But they called a foul. It was one of those things where we came down (court) and I had to double team on the fastbreak. I was back-pedaling for help. He was on the fastbreak and was running toward me and then when he jumped, I jumped.”
Though Hollis was whistled for a foul against Randle, the 2014 SEC Rookie of the Year who guided the Wildcats to the NCAA championship game in April, his gusty play is indicative of the no-fear disposition he has displayed on the court ever since the 18-year-old Dallas native first picked up a basketball 13 years old.
WATCH FRANK HOLLIS IN ACTION VIA YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRZ3qHcZSNI
By and large, his solid body of work on the court in recent years is among the reasons those who witnessed Hollis blossomed into a crafty athlete believe he would be viable force on for a school in the collegiate ranks.
Roughly 24 hours removed from having earned his high school diploma for Triple A Academy in the Dallas area, Hollis surprising finished his prep career unsigned, news that came a shock to many, most notably Craig Roberts, his former AAU coach.
“Frank Hollis is an athletic wing guard,” Robinson said. “He is a tenacious defender and finishes very well with either hand in transition. He does make plays above the rim and he is a streak shooter that has a knack for coming up in big games.”
It is believed that among the reasons Hollis, like a couple of his teammates, didn’t sign a national letter of intent is that he played sparingly for Triple A after two productive seasons at Bishop Lynch.
This past season, for instance, Hollis appeared in each of the Stallions’ 29 games, averaging around eight points and three assists per outing. Last year, his also witnessed a reduction in his play, although his contribution helped propel Triple A to the Texas Division I-A state championship.
According to Hollis, playing in a system in which he wasn’t accustomed to being the facilitator on the floor weighed heavily on him at times.
So much, in fact, that last week, Hollis admittedly contemplated not playing college basketball, news that came as a surprise to his mother, Wanda Hollis.
“For two months, I hadn’t heard him bouncing the ball in the foyer (of her home),” Wanda Hollis said. “(His) passion had always been so strong. It was an ongoing thing, never a dull moment.”
After taking time to assess his basketball future, Frank Hollis has decided he’d welcome the opportunity of extending his basketball career.
Even it means starting over as a walk-on.
Although he plans to enroll at Midwestern State in Wichita Falls, Texas, Frank hasn’t given up on fulfilling his dream of inking a national letter of intent.
In other words, this speedy kid who likens his skills to NBA players Lance Stephenson and Tony Allen believes the possibility exists that he could land a basketball scholarship.
“Whoever gives me a chance, won’t regret it,” said Frank, who graduated with honors after being named to the National Honor Society.
Roberts, who contends Frank “fell through the cracks” like a number of his peers, essentially echoed his former players’ dauntless declaration.
“Yes, I’m shocked he went unsigned,” Roberts said.
Nevertheless, many who have observed the immense skills of Frank — who, according to MaxPreps.com, is the 82nd best player in Texas — believes whomever offers him a chance to play for their program would be inheriting a player who has developed a reputation defending the opposition’s marquee players.
As Randle once found out.
“Anybody from a basketball perspective can score, but everybody can’t defend,” said Joe Moon, Frank’s uncle, who coached him during his recreational basketball and football-playing days. “One of the things I stressed a lot with him was education, his knowledge for the game. He knows how to position his body more. He actually has the finesse.”
Attributes Moon said college coaches can’t merely teach, especially defensive-minded players like Frank.
“I think they’ll be missing out on one of the most coachable kids available,” Moon said. “Everybody’s not coachable. “And any coach who gets him will see that.”
Especially in big-game situations.
As Randle once found out.