One of the exciting aspects of any NBA Draft is exactly how much of a crap shoot it will be. The hype over the various NBA mock draft boards skyrocket days before the event and then seeing what last second decisions teams make concerning desired players or last second mega trades gives this special basketball night always a unique atmosphere seen only once per year. You obviously see the battle for the #1 pick and what big name will sit at the top, then you see how other big names rise or slide in the draft as well as observing what less known guys sneak into the second round and how many Europeans make the board. There are so many interesting tidbits surrounding the draft night and when you look to Germany that have given the NBA a new breed of players like Daniel Theis, Maxi Kleber, Dennis Schroeder Isaiah Hartensetin and Moritz Wagner with only the last 3 being drafted, there also have been other guys drafted that were unknown with guys like Szymon Szewczyk, Peter Fehse and Malik Badiane. The latter 2 had nice careers in Europe, but were total NBA draft pick busts. Another guy that made his break through with Rhein Energy Cologne was Marcin Gortat who carved out a stellar 12 year NBA career spanning 806 games, but not all NBA teams and Gm´s get that lucky and play the crap shoot correctly. Basketball life in New York was already tough enough until the club drafted well known European players Serbian Kristaps Porzingis and French national player Frank Nitlinka. The who´ssss and boo´s coming from the draft room were as active as James Harden is with the ball for 40 minutes per game. Ntilinka didn´t pan out as making a Knick fan into a believer is tougher than really believing a Harden can change anything in Brooklyn. At least Porzingis proved New Yorker´s and the rest of USA wrong with his game, but really American´s will never expect greatness even if they see it. It was the same early on with Luka Doncic. You have to wonder how big the who´s shouting was when Fehse and Badiane were picked but 2003 was a different time. A time with no social media and were mistakes like that were tolerated. But how loud will the who´s be when a guy like Curtis Hollis is selected in the 2020 NBA Draft? Hollis is crazy athletic guy that never played in the NCAA and only has JBL experience and a year in the German fourth division. But sometimes a promise from an NBA team or just incredible confidence is something that will help elevate a man´s confidence to a place not seen before. Hollis has a very interesting journey and has been training since February 2020 for every kid´s ultimate dream. He has been mentioned on no 2020 NBA draft mock boards, but believes he has a legitimate chance of hearing his name called. “. I feel like I’m intriguing to teams because 1 I’m a winner and all I want do is win. I feel like I have a lot in my game that translates to winning. Also my size, athleticism, ability to guard 1-5 , etc. So hopefully they feel the same. I do think I’m high on some scouting reports though, but I could be wrong”, warned Curtis Hollis.
Hollis is a 22 year old 198cm guard/forward from Arlington, Texas that began his basketball career at Mansfield Summit High School and then played a season of JUCO ball at Hutchinson Community College playing 34 games averaging 6.9ppg, 3.3rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 27.0%, FT: 66.3%. He didn´t enjoy his experience particularly there for the simple fact that his coach had to give other guys more playing time due to seniority, but at the same time, the American also didn´t feel like he could train as much and develop as well if he had to balance school and basketball. That is why he chose to turn pro in 2018. He went an unusual path giving the new league JBL a shot, a league that had been born by Lavar Ball and dominated the competition averaging 29.3ppg, 11.3rpg, 5.3apg, 2.6spg, FGP: 46.0%, 3PT: 21.2%, FT: 71.8% for the Houston Ballers. In the summer of 2018, he joined a USA select team that toured Europe and he promptly was discovered by ex German national player Yassin Idbihi after pouring in 40 points against Pro A club Baunach. He had the pleasure of being teammates with Lamelo Ball, a projected top 5 2020 NBA Draft pick and they were an unstoppable 1-2 punch. Idbihi kept a close eye on Hollis and kept him under his wing bringing him to German Regionalliga team Dragons Rhondorf where he was the CEO. Hollis dominated the Regionalliga from the get go playing 18 games averaging 22.7ppg, 8.2rpg, 3.6apg, Steals-5(3.0spg), FGP: 57.5%, 3PT: 38.9%, FT: 79.4%. As the stats suggest, he was able to fill them up with ease. He even silenced any critics that he was only an offensive threat by registering a rare triple double double against Leverkusen where he was on another planet on defense that night securing 10 steals. All in all, his season in Germany allowed him to sow his basketball roots and just play the game he loves allowing him to play with absolute freedom and fully incorporate his strengths while proving that he could lead the team to success. The club was on route to the playoffs when COVID-19 hit. The Dragons Rhondorf most likely would have challenged the RheinStars Cologne for the move back to the Pro B. The American left the club shortly before Covid hit to prepare for the 2020 NBA Draft.
The 2020 NBA Draft is today and it has been a super super long road for Curtis Hollis in the last 9 plus months. It seems like at times that the American had only one goal each day and it was get up eat breakfast, train, eat lunch, nap, train, eat dinner, train and then sleep and then get up and do it all over again the next day. Today Hollis will have to cope with the huge build up that has been mounting the last 9 months and see if all the hard work has paid off. “ I’m super excited! I’m not really nervous I’m more excited & just ready to go day 1”, stressed Curtis Hollis. He is currently in Los Angeles, California where he will watch the NBA Draft show and await his fate. COVID-19 put huge restrictions on many things and also forced many players world-wide to become creative and find new ways how to stay in shape as well as work on basketball skills, but the American was fortunate not to have to travel 1000 miles to another place or have to work on his skills in underground parking lot´s at midnight. “It wasn’t too challenging because thankfully I had a guy that had a gym. So I took maybe a week or two off & got right back to it”, remembered Curtis Hollis. His last official pro game was January 18th against Herford where the world was still in order having Kobe and no COVID-19 in Europe, but not being able to feel that competitiveness and will to win against a real opponent hasn´t been easy. “ It’s been strange not playing a official game because I miss that feeling. But it hasn’t been too bad because I’ve been in open gyms, and open runs so I’ve been able to get some live action out of that”, said Curtis Hollis.
With so much time on his hands to just grind, grind and grind, the American had sufficient time to continue to work on his game and just develop despite not playing real games. He left Germany with confidence having that rhythm from outside shooting at a clip of 38%. He knew exactly what the best solution was to hopefully transform into a 40% and up shooter. “Just the accuracy, the consistency. Shooting the ball the same way every time with confidence. Just stuff like that! I’ve been able to get reps up so that’s really helped”, expressed Curtis Hollis. Even if his offensive stats standout, the defensive side is a huge part of his game and one that he also takes a lot of pride in. Getting deflections, quick stops, and steals allows him to get out on transition and make him very dangerous. He knew exactly what he had to do the last 9 months to not be a good defender, but a great defender and reach a new level. “Just consistently every single possession guarding and being solid doing it not going overboard trying to make every spectacular play. At times I’ve had a tendency to take possessions off. I can’t do that. So it’s just being more focused and ready to guard every possession”, warned Curtis Hollis. The last months, he has examined tape of NBA player Andre Iguodala in hopes of soaking up as much as possible from his game to incorporate into his and be that impact player at a higher level. “I have been watching mostly the defensive side. Being solid as a defender, he’s athletic can slash, & make plays for others. So I’m just watching stuff like that because as a rookie coming into the NBA I might have to start out taking that type of roll”, stressed Curtis Hollis. Of course in order to get better, you can´t train and practice against clowns, but battle against guys who have been at the NBA level and know what it takes to get there. Hollis had the pleasure of suiting up against guys like guys Darius Garland, Ian Clark, Shake Milton, Jawun Evans, Robert Covington and Alex Poythtress who helped him grind that extra mile more and get that extra punch that he may not have produced against lesser players. “It’s been amazing and always good getting those reps. I shined just playing my game trying to win against those guys”, explained Curtis Hollis. In terms of how his game looks today, he can go into the 2020 NBA Draft with his head held high as he is a totally superior player today then he was in January 2020 in Germany. “I’m just better overall. A better catch and shoot 3 point shooter, sharpened my handles / my game as I always do, really locking in defensively, got more athletic, & just really locking in everyday to work hard and get better”, warned Curtis Hollis.
One of the last movies that he saw in order to get mentally prepared for the 2020 NBA Draft was Rookie of the year. Recently he had a work out with the Golden State Warriors and drew interest from the Pelicans, Mavericks and Hawks. He was overall content after showing the Golden State Warriors his game on the court. “It was good. They just had some areas they wanted to see me in. My confidence definitely rose and I feel like I took advantage of my opportunity. So I’m blessed”, said Curtis Hollis. When looking at the 2020 NBA Draft, as usual you will have an abundance of very young players getting drafted. Guys that are 4-5 years younger than Hollis. These youngsters may not be that better skill-wise, but still have the youth and rawness to be able to develop further, which is always a big plus for NBA teams. Hollis´s big advantage over the young bucks is his experience and some other area´s. “Experience is huge, being developed and coached at that level especially in Europe is going be so critical for me. Living on my own and having money already is another advantage. It won’t take me a big adjustment period”, stressed Curtis Hollis. I´m sure even if the American will never admit it, he secretly has compared some of his mix video´s to those of Lamelo Ball and wonder, “Is that dude really better than me”?. Ball averaged 40,0ppg in the JBL while Hollis averaged 29,0ppg. Like Hollis, Ball who once dropped 92 points in a high school game has developed further and last played in the Australian top league averaging 17/7/7. Hollis didn´t want to compare himself to Ball, but wasn´t short of compliments. “Skill wise he’s incredible and I feel I am too. You know we’re both high level players in my opinion so it’s cool. That’s my brother he’s an amazing player”, added Curtis Hollis. The American recently stated in a Podcast that if he doesn´t get drafted, it won´t be the end of the world. He could still be named to an NBA team´s training camp roster and play in the G-League and make his way to the NBA. The NBA process can be a long one, but one thing is for sure, he won´t be coming back to Europe this season. “Pretty much 100% chance I’m staying in the States. Things could change but I’m in a great position right now”, stressed Curtis Hollis. Hollis has been extra lucky to have had the support of the Holman Sports management firm that have supported him and stuck with him during this difficult NBA process. “Aaron Holman my agent has worked for me non stop since the day I met him and has done everything he said he would do. We have a great relationship & basically talk everyday. He’s always so real and tells me everything good, bad, or ugly. So I just appreciate him and thank him so much for everything but it’s just the beginning”, warned Curtis Hollis. Even if Hollis doesn´t get drafted, his NBA dream won´t end on November 18th, 2020 as it will continue as he will continue to grind, grind and grind until he can persuade an NBA team with his skills the next weeks and months. But if he does get selected then I would recommend mayor Jeff Robinson to have November 18th be Curtis Hollis day.