Richaun Holmes' journey from an unknown entity to NBA draft sleeper
Ever since its inception in 1953, the Portsmouth Invitational has hosted the nation’s premier college basketball seniors each April. Legends like Rick Barry, Earl Monroe and Dave Cowens graced the floor in the 1970s. Later came John Stockton, Dennis Rodman, Tim Hardaway and Scottie Pippen. In 2011, an unheralded Marquette guard named Jimmy Butler used the four-day tournament to jumpstart his NBA career.
Even with the storied history of giving NBA-worthy players the ability to get seen by NBA scouts, when Bowling Green senior Richaun Holmes’ collegiate career ended following a loss in the CIT, he was unaware of the opportunity Portsmouth offered in his pursuit of being selected in the NBA draft.
“I had never heard of the Portsmouth before this year,” Holmes tells SI.com.
After just three years at Bowling Green, Holmes became the only player in Falcons history to record 1,000 points, 600 rebounds and 200 blocks. Yet even with rim protection at a premium in the NBA, the 6'9", 232-pound specimen was unsure if his playing days would continue. “I always felt like there was going to be a chance for me to play professionally somewhere, I just didn’t know where.”
Although unsettling, Holmes found himself in a familiar situation. A late-bloomer in high school, both physically and skill-wise, Holmes played only two seasons of varsity basketball, leaving him without any Division I scholarship offers.
All the above has Holmes in tremendous position entering the NBA draft. Teams have expressed interest in Holmes as high as the late 20s in the first round, according to multiple sources, which has him practically overbooked for pre-draft team workouts.
To make the most of his opportunity, Holmes simply has to approach the next few weeks like he does rotating from the weak side to erase a shot: “It’s just staying on your toes and being ready to move.”