Hempstead native Tu Holloway announced Sunday afternoon that he has withdrawn his name from the NBA draft to return to Xavier for his senior season. Players who entered the draft but did not retain an agent had until midnight Sunday to make their decision before losing their college eligibility.
Holloway's return was announced on Xavier's website, where Musketeers coach Chris Mack welcomed back the 2010-11 Atlantic 10 Conference player of the year. "I think I speak for the entire Xavier community when I say I am excited to have Tu Holloway return for his senior season," Mack said in a statement. "[His] progression as a player over the last three years has been remarkable."
Holloway's play at a pre-draft workout on Saturday at the Nets' practice complex was praised by several NBA talent experts, but he still projected as a second-round pick at best and would have risked the possibility of not being drafted in a year when there is a strong possibility of a lockout and shortened season.
Explaining his decision to Newsday Sunday night, Holloway said, "It was a logical decision due to the lockout. You see guys who are second-round picks or go undrafted, but they still have a chance to make the team through summer league or training camp. But this year is going to be a lot different. That was the main thing. If I had an opportunity to make a team, I wouldn't mind staying in the draft and going all-out to make a team."
At the same time, Holloway is content about returning to school."Preseason expectations are through the roof at Xavier," Holloway said. "Some guys have us in the top 10. I could be a preseason first-team or second-team All-American...Why not go win another Atlantic 10 title? I'm twenty-some credits away from getting a degree. It would definitely be worth it to go back and get a degree and also playing my way into being a first-round pick."
Despite averaging 19.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game as a junior, Holloway knows he still has doubters because he's undersized for an NBA point guard. Although listed as six feet tall by Xavier, he was measured at 5-10 at the combine. With another year of experience, Holloway's stock should be that much higher next summer.
Still, Holloway admitted it might be tough to watch this June's draft, which will include Connecticut guard Kemba Walker, a friend from their days on the same AAU team. " I look at guys I know, and I'm happy for Kemba [Walker] because he was the best player in college basketball this year," Holloway said. "He deserves everything that happened. I don't get down.
"Watching the draft is always hard every year because there's so many guys I played with. So, I kind of get depressed on that day a little bit. But it's all a journey. I can't look at it and say I want it to happen right now. It's a process."