FRISCO, Texas • Aric Holman’s numbers with the Texas Legends of the NBA G League are solid through 43 games – 9.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game, mostly off the bench.
But for first-year Legends head coach George Galanopoulos, one thing the former Mississippi State big man’s stats don’t illustrate is Holman’s ongoing improvement since the start of the season.
“First and foremost, his improvement in every area of his game stands out,” Galanopoulos said last week. “He obviously came here as a known shooter and that was obviously his transferable skill. But what we tried to get out of him is playing hard every possession that he’s on the floor.
“Playing hard is sprinting the floor, it’s talking, it’s understanding rotations and what we’re trying to do defensively more than anything. He’s gotten a lot better protecting the rim, better as an overall defender and he’s understanding offensively kind of how to play and make decisions for others and with the basketball.
“We’re really proud of him and his development. He just continues to get better every day.”
The Legends are 24-19 and fourth in the league’s West Division standings with seven games remaining in the regular season.
A Bulldog between 2015-19, the 6-foot-10 Holman was an undrafted free agent with the Lakers last summer before spending the preseason with the Dallas Mavericks and then landing with the Mavericks’ G League affiliate in nearby Frisco. He agrees that he and the Legends have been a perfect fit in this, his first professional season.
“I thank him (Galanopoulos) for believing in me, spending time with me, watching film. I feel like watching film is the best way to get better,” said Holman, 22. “You get to see your own flaws and your positives and make the best out of all of them.”
He also credits Lakers big man Anthony Davis, a Kentucky product, for taking him under his wing during his time in Los Angeles. “He taught me about just knowing your game inside and out. Mentally and physically knowing your spots and just falling in love with the game,” Holman said. “That simple part right there will help you be successful.”
Holman also points to his time at State, which laid the groundwork for a solid debut campaign as a pro.
“I love Starkville. One of the greatest decisions I’ve ever made,” he said. “Still stay in touch with all my coaches and teammates. That was another great opportunity and wish nothing but the best for them.”