MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG) – It was in 4th grade, where Joshua Holloway truly fell in love with the game of basketball, getting the chance to play alongside Bronny James with the Blue Chips AAU team.
“I started getting better, like seeing myself as a player,” said Holloway. “I started to realize the game more like my IQ started to become better.”
Holloway prepped at St. George’s, averaging 15 points, 8 assists, and 2 rebounds a game for the Gryphons last season.
He was playing in South Carolina just two weeks ago when he was spotted by Steve Smith, the head coach at famed Oak Hill. Smith offered him a chance to play at the prestigious prep school and for Holloway that was the opportunity of a lifetime.
“My dad felt good about it. I felt good about it. So, we just made the decision.”
He even got the attention of 10-time NBA All-Star and former Oak Hill standout Carmelo Anthony – which led to a shoutout on social media.
“I was watching Roll Bounce and I just so happen to check my phone. I went to my likes and comments and I saw Carmelo Anthony, but it didn’t seem real. I clicked on the profile and I literally jumped up off the couch.”
Holloway is the latest Memphis basketball star to leave for a prep school, following in the footsteps of Kennedy Chandler, Matthew Murrell, and Curtis Givens III – a growing trend across the country.
No one knows that better than 16-year NBA veteran and Memphian Thaddeus Young, who sees many of these elite players as the sponsor of his AAU team, Team Thad.
“In basketball, sometimes you have to be selfish in order to get better,” Young said. “You have to sometimes take your talent somewhere else and sometimes see things outside of Memphis. We have so many players that don’t see outside of Memphis.”
Chandler was twice named Mr. Basketball in the state of Tennessee, yet he left the Saints for a senior season at Sunrise Christian. The decision left longtime Briarcrest coach John Harrington minus one of the country’s top talents, but instead of being bitter, Harrington knows these players are just raising the profile of high school hoops in the city.
“It does water it down a little bit,” Harrington said. “Everybody knows those kids are from Memphis, Tennessee that go play at Sunrise or go play at IMG or Montverde or Huntington Prep for Oak Hill. I think it doesn’t hurt the city of Memphis. I think the prestige of Memphis basketball is there.”
“Once you have done everything in Memphis, some people probably feel like they have nothing left to prove,” said Holloway. “They see something bigger, and when you get the opportunity, you always take it. I feel like coming from Memphis, a small town, everybody knowing each other, to going out there to Montverde, Oak Hill and all the other top prep schools is a once in a lifetime type thing. I feel like you got to always do what’s best for you.”