I recently smashed my top hitters in the 2023 EYBL class as part of a larger summer series in which I rank the top prospects by position in each of the major sneaker races.
Ron Holland was the best combo forward on my board.
A combo forward refers to someone who is capable of playing and defending in both forward positions, essentially a frontcourt equivalent to the commonly used “combo defense” label. Versatility is key and should be present at both ends of the floor.
In terms of hiring, Holland made official visits to UCLA, Arkansas and Kentucky in May and June, and is also considering Texas and G League Ignite. Although he announced this final five in mid-June, there hasn’t been much change to his kit since then, with some speculating that a spring decision is now possible.
Holland was a major contributor to the USA Basketball Team, which won gold in July at the FIBA Under-17 World Championship in Spain. He did not participate in Peach Jam a week after his return, but was nevertheless included in the EYBL Top List after playing with Drive Nation all spring.
Full intelligence report
Holland’s EYBL performance has left no one astonished in three sessions, but the role he played this summer on the US Under-17 basketball team reminded everyone why he’s the best player in his class. He is very athletic, not only in the upright position, but in the way he covers the floor, excels on the open court, can move sideways and in his speed. All of this came to the fore at FIBA as Team USA played at a fast pace throughout the tournament, showing the versatility of his athleticism.
While the term “all-around defender” is easily used these days, Holland actually embodies it. It is sized to protect bigger forwards on the inside, but moves its legs sideways well enough to protect faster players on the perimeter and thus be both multipositional and switchable.
Offensively, he is most effective in the transition, but he has the basis for a set of skills that should be further developed. He’s shooting clean from the three-point line and has shown some passing potential and chopping ability. At times he may try to do too much on dribbling and may not yet understand his own limitations, but at the same time expand his game.
He also has to find a balance between competing with an edge and letting his emotions get the better of him, but when he plays with the motor he showed during FIBA this summer, he is extremely efficient.
Overall, while Holland is now best described as a combo forward, he has a chance to develop into the type of modern big winger that is so coveted at the highest level given his 6’8 positional size, defensive versatility and development of offensive skills.
Ron Holland didn’t play ?? Jam but reminded everyone why he is one of the best in 23rd during his last stay at ???? ???.
— Adam Finkelstein (@AdamFinkelstein) August 4, 2022