The REAL Kiimani Holt is BACK!
Kiimani Holt is no stranger to looking like the best player on the court. Growing up he was one of the more dominant youth players in the state of Arizona, from the rumblings I have heard.
I first got to see Kiimani during the spring for the then-Powerhouse Hoops 16U program. I saw the intangibles but still wasn’t sold. I saw the college-ready body, the athleticism and the lateral quickness. What I didn’t see was more in the chest and in between the ears. And then something changed…
Holt did his thing for a Rancho Solano Prep team that fell short of some heavy expectations in the 2A conference. However, he racked up some scoring milestones and continued to put in work before rejoining his Powerhouse team on the UAA Rise circuit with a revamped roster on a team that was dominant at the 16U level on the West Coast. To say the least, Holt was not the same. Some of the explosion was gone. The aggression was not there. His usual down hill drives looked like he was trying to climb a mountain while dribbling a basketball and he was being met at the rim more often then not. Sure, he showed flashes, but something was missing with a player and prospect that seemed primed to reach the next level of his game on a bigger stage.
Then after the Under Armour Finals in Atlanta, Holt made the decision to commit to the school that was his very first offer in Portland State. A coaching staff that stayed by his side the whole way thru. Assistant Coach Jase Coburn was a big reason for that. A former assistant coach at Phoenix College and former head coach at McClintock High that also ran a very good AAU program in the Valley called the Arizona Rage.
Since then Kiimani has looked like he is back. During the later part of the summer he was one of the first players to commit to the newly-formed Prep School, PHHoenix Prep, directed and coached by his AAU director and coach, John Ortega and Kirk Fauske. It looks as if that decision is paying off. He spends a good majority of his free time in the gym working on conditioning and you can see it on the floor. The explosion is back and better than ever and he is back to being a body catcher and jumping with his head right under the rim and throwing it down like the rim is on his bad side. The down hill drives are back and in overdrive. He is back to looking like a top-tier perimeter defender. He will need all of that back in his tool bag with the schedule this team will play in the coming months. They will join the Grind Session which features some of the top Prep programs in the nation and Holt will square up with some of the top guards in the country.
“Key” is trimmed down these days. He looks like he is ready to walk into a college basketball practice and be able to blend in physically just fine. Sure he still has some holes to fix in his game. His outside shot is a glaring weakness in his game, mostly because he is so above average in just about every other part of his game. His handle is solid but he could work on his ability to take a defender to the left side of the basket. But his swagger is back. And that’s what many of us that have grown to know and build a relationship with Holt were waiting on. The REAL “Key” is BACK!