Holloway a new man for Musketeers

Terrell Holloway’s name isn’t all that’s changed since he arrived at Xavier.

The New York native, who bounced around AAU teams and high schools a few years ago, has also altered his mindset.

"I’m kind of a stubborn person,” Holloway said. "It was difficult for me at first with all the structure.”

Xavier coach Chris Mack and former Musketeers coach Sean Miller both admit that weren’t quite sure that Holloway, a one-time Indiana signee, would make it at the school.

There were plenty of examples; one of the first came during the mile run that every player has to do in the fall.

"He ran the worst mile time in the history of the program his freshman year,” Mack said. "It was embarrassing. He just jogged four laps.”

"All I kept saying to myself was, ‘How is this going to help me in basketball?’” Holloway said. "I didn’t understand it.”

But now the light has turned on and the well-traveled New Yorker may just turn into the face of Xavier basketball this season with the early departure of Jordan Crawford to the NBA.

"He’s come so far,” Mack said. "He’s a completely different person than the one who walked in the door two years ago.”

The team leader is now the guy who wasn’t even supposed to be here.

Xavier, like many other programs, was rightfully concerned about his track record. Here was a kid who had bounced from St. Benedict’s in New Jersey to St. Dominic’s to Hempstead High and ended up in the Musketeers’ backyard in Cincinnati while playing at a prep school called Harmony Prep.

He was just as difficult to keep tabs on in the summertime when he would go from the Long Island Lightning to the New York Panthers to the Gauchos before eventually finding a home with the New England Playaz.

Holloway was almost the poster child for the kid that college coaches stay away from.

While he was at Harmony, Holloway used to hang around Xavier due to his relationship with fellow New Yorker Emmanuel “Book” Richardson — an assistant on the Musketeers’ staff.

"Every day after school he’d stop by,” Mack said. "He was a kid in New York who didn’t know anyone in Cincinnati.”

But the kid who had a suspect jumper and mediocre speed and athleticism wasn’t even on Xavier’s radar when he opted to ink with then-Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson.

Then, after Sampson was forced to resign, Holloway became a free agent — and Xavier wasn’t sure that their incoming point guard, Mark Lyons, would be cleared academically to play as a freshman.

"We never really went to evaluate him because we had (Mark) Lyons and (Brad) Redford,” Mack said.

"They never recruited me at all,” Holloway admitted. "But once everything happened with Indiana, I knew exactly where I wanted to go. I had already been around the program the whole year. I knew it was a good situation, the right situation for me.”

Holloway’s college career began on a high when he scored 13 points and made all 10 of his free-throw attempts to give Xavier a November win against Memphis in the championship game of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.

Holloway thought this whole college basketball deal was going to be easy.

"I was living off what I did in Puerto Rico,” he said. "So my teammates always had hope even though I struggled. That really got me through my freshman year.”

A year in which Holloway admitted to Mack in an end-of-the year meeting that he was terrible.

"He wouldn’t budge,” Mack said.

"I was non-existent,” Holloway said. "There were games where all I wanted to do was get one point.”

Then came an offseason in which Holloway logged the 25,000 shots he hoisted up at the basket. There were 25,000 more this past summer.

"Now, he’s willing to put the time in,” Mack said. "And he’s put in the time.”

And it showed as Holloway, who played in the shadow of Crawford, averaged 12.1 points per game as a sophomore and also had an assist-to-turnover radio of more than 2-to-1.

"I played OK,” Holloway said.

Holloway performed well enough to warrant the official name change in the media guide and from the PA announcer from Terrell to Tu.

"I don’t remember the game, but I remember we won,” Mack said. "I told him I’d let him change his name if we won the game.”

"Everyone calls me Tu anyway,” Holloway said. "That’s what I’ve been called since I was four years old, so I figured I may as well change it.”

May as well — since Holloway has changed plenty else.