At the beginning of September 2019 the pre season had just began for the Dragons Rhondorf as the Gezeiten Cup tournament rolled along where fourth division team Dragons Rhondorf could measure themselves against first league team and cooperation partner Telekom Baskets Bonn. On the court was guard Trey Mckinney-Jones who has played one NBA game with the Indiana Pacers and never given up trying to get back having played an astounding 7 NBA Summer Leagues. On the other side of the court was a young man by the name of Curtis Hollins age 21 with no NCAA experience and only a season of Community College and 7 games in Lavar Ball’s league JBA. But the buzz around the gym that day was that this young man from Texas has NBA range and is on the shopping list of NBA teams. Hollins is a very special player that is raw, has special unending potential and has the heart of a lion and this exceptional self confidence that one could only witness in a Hollywood movie. The young guard/forward had a sub par Community College season, but did severe damage in the JBA league destroying every opponent on the court with his overall game as if there was no tomorrow. But wait a minute, why was this special prospect balling in the German fourth division where most Americans play for a monthly wage of 700-1000$? Even if he lit the JBA league on fire, he still seemed unproven and not ready enough to get a chance from a higher level team. Despite all the NBA talk, he didn’t t feel any pressure. Despite his amazing talent, he had to start at the bottom of the totem pole. But that didn’t t bother him one bit as he knew exactly where he is going. ‘It makes me feel great hearing the talk. I always feel like I can play and contribute at the highest level. I love the Euroleague and it would be amazing if I had the opportunity to play there’, warned Curtis Hollis (198-G/F-98, college: Hutchinson). Having to play in the fourth division did put a chip on his shoulder, but it wasn’t a heavy one, because he was so focused on getting better each day. ‘I don’t really have a huge chip on my shoulder. For me it’s more about coming in and developing. I have a pretty good shot to play with not just the national team as well so I feel like everything will play itself out’, stressed Curtis Hollis. Hollis may be underrated, but has the heart of a champion. He played his rookie season with the Dragons Rhondorf, but departed in January to go back home citing personal opinions, but in his 5 months in the German Regionalliga, he definitely turned heads and left a lasting impression. ‘I just want to tell the fans that I love them to death I’m sorry about how it ended but man they really helped us out at the nightly home games and was like a 6th man for us! My goal every night was to win and to make sure I put on a show for the fans so they were entertained and enjoyed watching us play. So I just want say to them thank you thank you thank you! You guys are honestly amazing. They supported every weekend’, stressed Curtis Hollis
Curtis Hollis grew up in Arlington, Texas and began his basketball career with Mansfield Summit High School where he also excelled at football. He played against many high level players at the high school level that would play in the NCAA and now some have landed in the NBA, but instead of landing in the NCAA, he found himself playing at Hutchinson CC (JUCO). He had offers from schools like San Diego and Lamar, but looked at the whole spectrum of where he wanted to go in his basketball career and never saw the NCAA as a place that could truly help him. ‘I feel like there’s a lot of hidden agendas in the NCAA with high level players and coaches. A lot of coaches don’t care about you and your development so it’s tough for a guy like me that’s been underrated for a long time. Plus I’ve always wanted to be a pro and develop and play basketball all day. Not be in school and have study hall and all that so I felt like if I had the opportunity to play professionally why not jump on it? Life’s so short you have to take advantage of opportunities while you can’, stressed Curtis Hollis. Instead he gave Hutchinson CC (JUCO) an opportunity, because he knew it was an outstanding program, but he never found to his game as in 34 games he averaged 6.9ppg, 3.3rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 27.0%, FT: 66.3%. Even now two years after his last game for them, he remembers the experience as if it was yesterday. ‘It was a crazy experience to say the least. Obviously they recruited me. Hutch has an amazing basketball program and facilities. I just feel like I didn’t really get the full opportunity I wish I did. They held me back a lot and like I said kind of pushed me to the side & told me to wait my turn. Luckly I had some great teammates that helped me along the way and I also got to really develop and work on my game in practice going against the starters killing them. So it was an up and down year but I always like looking at the positive of things so overall as a man and a player I got better and learned from that year at JUCO. I left because I just felt like I wasn’t treated fairly. I could have went to any JUCO in the country and chose Hutch and had to deal with hidden agendas so at the end of the day I had to do what was best for me & my career’, warned Curtis Hollis.
In the summer of 2018, Curtis Hollis who lists Marques Bolden (Cleveland Cavaliers) , Trevon Duval (Houston Rockets) , Terrance Ferguson (OKC Thunder) , Mitchell Robinson (New York Knicks) , and Trae Young. (Atlanta Hawks) as his best five teammates of all-time made the next step in his career and decided to ball in the newly established JBA league founded by Lavar Ball the dad of NBA guard Lonzo Ball. The JBA league is one where young players can play professionally who don’t necessarily want to go to school. This decision proved to be the right one as he put up huge stats and was able to make a name for himself. He played with the Houston Ballers (JBA) and finished as the leagues fifth best scorer averaging 29.3ppg, 11.3rpg, 5.3apg, 2.6spg, FGP: 46.0%, 3PT: 21.2%, FT: 71.8%.The American also felt that taking a chance of playing in the JBA league was the correct one as it led to bigger and better things. ‘The league was just in its first year so it had its ups and downs especially with my team. But when we went to Europe it was amazing. We played high level talent and beat them as well’, stated Curtis Hollis. He had some huge games in the JBA league scorching Philadelphia for 37 points, Dallas for 34 points and Chicago for 31 points. His hardships at Hutchinson helped groom him for the JBA league. ‘With the JBA I had an opportunity. When I played at my JUCO the opportunity wasn’t really there for me. My coaches had 2 sophomore guards who had just won the national championship so his loyalty was really with them. They kind of pushed me to the side and told me to wait my turn. Which was really hard because obviously I felt I had the talent and game to play big minutes as a freshman. That year really helped me mature though’, added Curtis Hollis. Putting up big stats in the JBA was just another step in his long road up the basketball ladder as his game definitely profited from the experience. ‘I felt like it developed a lot because of the opportunity to play and make mistakes. It was tough night in & night out nothing was given or easy so that helped me a lot. Especially playing with NBA rules & a lot of traveling and NBA 3pt line’, warned Curtis Hollins. He also will never forget playing against other top JBA players Jordan Ray and Deon Lyle. ‘It was always competitive. We all love winning and we were all talented. We battled every day at practice every chance we could. There’s so many memories I can’t really point out a specific one’, stressed Curtis Hollis.
With his stellar play in the JBA league, the Texas native was selected to a USA select team that went overseas to compete against professional teams. Once again he didn’t disappoint as he put up ridiculous stats averaging 29,7ppg, 6,5rpg and 3,9apg. He got on the basketball radar in Germany after an amazing 40 point performance against easyCredit BBL team Brose Bamberg’s farm team Baunach who compete in the second division called the Pro A. ‘Memories probably was it was a tough game. We started off slow but eventually got into our rhythm. They never gave up and really fought us down to the wire. I didn’t know they had an NBA prospect on that team. I felt I played really well and I think I’m a NBA prospect as well so it’s always good going against those type of guys’, stated Curtis Hollis. After the great opportunity of being able to compete against high level teams and players in Europe, he made his decision of remaining here so much easier. ‘The experience was amazing. We played so many good pro clubs and pro grown men players so it was great. Playing well did make turning pro easier for me. I realized I could play at a high level professionally too so it was a great feeling’, added Curtis Hollis.
One guy who paid close attention to Hollis in that 40 point masterpiece was Bamberg youth coach Yassin Idbihi. When he returned to his old stomping ground Rhondorf to become CEO of Sport, he hadn’t forgotten Curtis Hollins as that memorable game in Bamberg paved the way to Rhondorf for the 198cm American. Having Yassin Idbihi behind the scenes in Rhondorf and knowing that he was more than wanted was a huge reason why he signed with the Dragons Rhondorf. ‘Yassin was a huge reason for me signing. He came to me with a plan and he really believed in me & my talent so it was only right that I trusted him as well & the double license for me felt like just the perfect situation. I really believe in what Yassin had planned for me. We had a plan set in place for me & my development so that was really big for me.’, added Curtis Hollins. He really didn’t know much about Germany and it’s basketball coming in except that Bamberg had been known for having great teams, fans and a certain ex Kentucky (NCAA) standout Darius Miller who made it back to the NBA from that program. He had a huge pre-season giving fans an early impression of what he would bring to the table filling up the stat sheet like a Russell Westbrook and helped the Dragons be one of the top teams in the Regionalliga West. He played 18 games for the ex Pro A team averaging 22,7ppg, 8,2rpg, 3,6apg and 3,0spg. He scored in double figures in 17 of 18 games, scored 20 or more points in 13 games and his two best games was a triple double against Leverkusen 2 with 26 points, 11 rebounds and 10 steals and also exploded against Deutzer with 38 points. He also registered 6 double doubles. When looking back at the last months, his time in the German Regionalliga was the perfect setting for his game to grow. ‘I developed crazy. And really fast! I didn’t expect it but like I said I was working so hard every day every week so it was only right for me to start becoming elite. The difference from September to January was my patience, my understanding of the European game, my reads in the PnR, off the ball movements, starting to attack more and more every time down! Really just everything I had really started to figure it out’, warned Curtis Hollis.
Hollis who has an interesting NBA Rushmore preference with Michael Jordan, Kawhi Leonard, Magic Johnson, and Kobe Bryant has a very versatile game and could of almost uncovered a list of players that he compares his game to as it wasn’t short as he sees his game similar to NBA guys like Will Barton, Jeremy Lamb, Brandon Ingram, Jayson Tatum, and Paul George. He sees himself as a long athletic guy that is very versatile, can score it, shoot it, and defend at a high level. But besides also having that ruthless composure like a ballerina and of a 10 year veteran and being able to defend the positions 1-4, he can do so much more. ‘I can kind of do it all. I feel like other strengths I can show is my leadership and ability to help my teammates and run the team’, warned Curtis Hollis. His smooth moving on the court is very fun to watch not to mention his high flying when he sees that air and dunks the ball hard. But he also knows that he still has many area’s to improve. ‘I feel like I can shoot it a lot better than people think and have seen. It’s still a work in progress but I’m not really too worried about it. Shooting is all about reps and mechanics and I’m ALWAYS in the gym and working so I think it will all come together soon’, warned Curtis Hollis. He has skinny legs which help him get to the rim quickly, but he also wants to add 10-15 pounds to get to 200 pounds so he can fight against the physicality of the game. Another important and noteworthy strength that he possesses is his focus. He is a player that knows that he is a very good, but is never satisfied with his game. He wants to get better everyday and that is always a positive sign about the character of a player as well. His confidence is also a strength as he has always had it in good and bad times and that will continue to accompany him as he continues to move up the basketball ladder.
He has a special connection to the Bamberg organization. Two years ago current Bamberg player Kameron Taylor played a breathtaking season at Rhondorf as he took a step back from the Pro A to get added self confidence and put up huge stats in the Pro B. Two years later via a season in Hungary, he played with top BBL team Brose Bamberg and played a key role in their success. Rhondorf is definitely a fine address for unproven and at times players that are off the radar to get on the radar while getting ample minutes and improving their game for the next level. Unfortunately his successful run with the Dragons Rhondorf ended too soon, but he was very thankful for the opportunity and being able to play for Yassin Idbihi. ‘I’m so thankful for him I can’t even put it into words. He was such a honest and trustworthy guy. He brought me here to develop to a high level and help him win and understand how the European game works on and off the court. Without him I’m not sure where I would be European basketball wise. My lasting memory will probably just be every memory I had with him. He was so hard and tough on me and really really wanted to see me be successful and use all my talent. But even thou he was tough he would be the first to tell me how much better I was doing or that I was doing a good job. So I’ll miss Yassin and like I said I can’t put into words how thankful I am for him. We will have a relationship forever’, warned Curtis Hollis. He is ready for the next step. ‘I’m going to enter the 2020 NBA Draft so we will see where it takes me but it’s just the beginning for me and my career. This year really helped me. I learned so much’, warned Curtis Hollis. Recently he declared for the 2020 NBA draft. He has been working really hard at his game in the last months leading up to the 2020 NBA draft One thing that won’t hinder him from reaching the NBA, will be a lack of having self-confidence. He may be underrated, but he has the self-confidence of a champion and that will get him far in the basketball business.