|Just have to grit your teeth and gut through the summer.|
Tu Holloway is the banner case for improvement in a guard at X. As a freshman, Tu averaged 5.5-2-2 and posted a poor .350/.327/.782 shooting line. His 1.13 A/TO didn't flatter him, either. Over his three years at Xavier, he has seen improvement in every meaningful statistical category. Last summer, he famously lifted thousands of jumpers in an effort to improve his shooting abilities. Obviously, Xavier - and Holloway - reaped the benefits of Tu's efforts. Now Holloway is facing the final summer of his college career - if he hasn't already - and there are a couple of tweaks we'd like to see him adopt before November.
First off, it needs to be said that pointing to areas in which Tu's game could improve is admittedly gilding the proverbial lily in a number of ways. He was Xavier's best player from the first game of the year, and rarely did a single game go by that he was not able to impose his will. Just saying "Tu was really good and I hope he keeps it up" would really defeat the purpose of this series though.
|Yes, Tu, shoot about a million of them.|
Another adjustment Holloway will need to make is one of approach. As a sophomore, he was a ball-distributing point with a puncher's chance of taking over in crunch time. That year, fewer than 20% of Xavier's possessions ended by way of shot or turnover from Tu. Last year, you may hve noticed, Holloway did everything but launder the uniforms. He led the team in three-point attempts and free throw attempts, was second in two-point attempts, and had the most overall field goals attempted. Not only did 28% of possessions end with Tu either shooting or turning the ball over, but he also assisted 30.4% of the buckets his teammates scored while he was on the court.
This coming season, Tu can hope to not have to carry such a large portion of the team's offensive burden. With the Muskies looking more like going ten deep than the six-and-a-half they showed last year, Holloway is going to have to re-adjust his game into a mode more focused on sharing the load. Last season, Tu showed a "no excuses, just results" mentality and a propensity for believing that he should be the one to drag the team back into the game no matter how much prior evidence may have pointed to the contrary. In the Charlotte loss, for instance, it was Cheek who led the team with 25-5-3 on 8-13/3-8/6-6 but Tu who shot four times in the final minute as Xavier was trying to find a way back into the game. This summer, Holloway is going to have to commit himself to getting back into the mindset of getting his teammates involved and not having to try to win every game with a massive second half.
|You get out of the draft right now, young man!|
You'll know it's working when: Tu is in Xavier colors come November and making sure the squad is running like a well-oiled machine. A player with his ability is going to get his anyway, and he'll have the luxury of less of the opposing team's defensive focus on him this year. When Tu is keeping everyone else involved and still keeping himself in a good enough rhythm to rip off 7 points in three possessions - well, that's about as good as it can get.
You should worry if you see: Tu trying to force his way up the draft ladder by taking on an even larger chunk of the scoring load than he did last year. If Tu is eating up possessions on his own while the rest of the team looks on, things are sure to be going sideways. The more time the other four guys on the floor spend watching Tu dribble around, the worse things are going.