In his weekly column, Dudley E. Dawson chats with Memphis prep shooting guard and Arkansas prospect Austin Hollins (6-4, 170), the son of current Memphis Grizzlies head coach and former NBA player Lionel Hollins.
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MEMPHIS - There are many University of Arkansas basketball fans who would really love to sign a big shooting guard and have recruiting success in Memphis once again.
Memphis Germantown’s Austin Hollins (6-4, 170), the son of Memphis Grizzlies head coach and former NBA player Lionel Hollins and a 4.0 student, could be the answer in both cases.
Hollins, playing for the unbeaten Nashville Celtics, has excelled so far at the River City Showdown AAU Tournament that ends up on Wednesday on the campus of the University of Memphis.
“Everything has really been going good for us this week, we are playing good defense, we are shooting it well, not turning the ball over a lot and playing as a team,” Hollins said. “We have just got to keep it going and when we play together, it is hard to beat us.”
The Celtics, who are 5-0 with three wins in pool play and a pair in bracket play, appeared poised for a championship showdown with the Memphis Magic.
But the Magic were upset late Tuesday night – meaning there would be no rematch of the Celtics’ 83-77 win on Monday night in pool play.
Arkansas has certainly put itself in a prime position with Hollins per the young man himself.
“The (the Razorbacks) are pretty high on my list, right up there at the top,” Hollins said. “Their coaches are real nice and have a lot of personality and fun to talk to. I really like them a lot.”
Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey and assistant Tom Ostrom have gotten across to Hollins how much they are looking for a big guard to come in and play.
“They have told me that and stressed that,” Hollins said. “I know there would be an opportunity to play right away.”
There are some 28 schools who have made their interest in Hollins known according to Germantown head coach Newton Mahler.
Arkansas, Arizona State, Baylor, Georgia, Minnesota, Oregon State and Memphis are keeping tabs on him.
“Obviously he's got the last name, and that's helped with college recruiting,” Mealer told the Memphis Commerical Appeal. “But I'll be honest -- he's earned most of that because of the way he's played. "He's had, legitimately, 28 schools that I feel like I've talked to on the phone and have said, 'If Austin Hollins will go here, we'll give him a scholarship.'"
The younger Hollins admits having a famous dad doesn’t hurt, but he is determined to make a name for himself.
“I don’t worry about what people expect,” Hollins said. “I just go out there and play as hard as I can, work as hard as I can and that is what will take me to where I want to be. It is a nice advantage to come to him for advice since he has been there and done that.”
Hollins averaged 16 points last season while being the second option behind Ian Clark, who ended up signing with Belmont.
"Ian Clark is a phenomenal player," Mealer said, "but Austin Hollins will be the best player that's come out of Germantown High School in many, many, many years, because he can do more than one thing.
"What he's got to learn how to be is motivational verbally,” Mealer continued. “He's got to become a verbal communicator. Austin's a really quiet guy. He likes to go out on the floor and play his game. He doesn't like all the talking and the accolades.”
Mealer says his young prospect had great versatility.
“He has the complete game,” Mealer said. “He can play any position on the floor. He can play 1 through 5 if I required him to do that."