Class of 2012 shooting guard DeMarcus Holland (Garland, Texas/ Naaman Forest) has a bone to pick.
Not with anyone in particular, really, but for those that slept on his ability as he fought back from a torn meniscus in his right knee during the early part of his junior season.
“I would hear about this guy or that guy and I was just as good,” Holland said. “I know I work harder than them so I deserved the opportunity [to play at big programs] too.”
Through hard work and an abundance of perseverance, Holland has been awarded that opportunity with Rick Barnes and the Texas Longhorns.
The 6-foot-3, 175-pound Holland was recently offered a scholarship by the Longhorns, who have already secured a commitment from his teammate, 6-foot-11 post Prince Ibeh.
“It means a lot to be offered by Texas,” Holland said. “I have been working hard all of these years and have just been under the radar. It means a lot to me that I have the opportunity to show people what I can do at a high level.”
Holland had been committed to South Florida since January but decommitted last month because he wanted to make “100 percent” certain “where I want to be these next four years.”
That decision offered the Longhorns the perfect opportunity to swoop in and try and nab a possible replacement for J’Covan Brown, the Big 12’s leading scorer, who announced earlier this week that he would forego his senior season to enter the NBA draft.
Texas currently ranks third in the ESPN class rankings with its four signed commitments and are expecting McDonalds All-American Cameron Ridley, the No. 5 center in the country, to sign next week. They have yet to garner a commitment from a shooting guard but are in the top four for McDonalds All-American small forward Devonta Pollard, Mississippi’s Mr. Basketball.
There is a chance Texas could gain a commitment from Holland this weekend when he takes his official visit to Austin.
“I’m really excited. I’ve been real patient for this day,” Holland said. “I’m pretty sure [my decision] will be made April 11. But it depends on how it goes. If I can compare Texas to USF and something clicks right there then I will make my decision then.”
What exactly will Holland be comparing?
“The players, the work ethic they have, the trainers and the coaches,” he said. “I want to know what role I’ll be playing and who I will be learning from.”
One asset that Texas has over South Florida is the looming presence of Ibeh in the paint. That could definitely sway Holland in the end.
“It’s a big thing because he is my best friend and there are a lot of kids out there that want to play with their best friends on a high level,” Holland said. “Not a lot of people get that opportunity.”
Holland didn’t have much of an opportunity to do that last season when he tore his meniscus very early in the season. He came back for district play and helped Naaman Forest to a first-round playoff victory, but quickly noticed his recruiting hype had subsided.
“I would have been doing a great job last year but no one got a chance to see me really,” he said. “It was real frustrating to see people pass me up and get the looks that I could have had if I was playing. It was frustrating.”
Holland harbored that frustration and took it out on opponents this season by averaging 12 points, five assists, five rebounds and two steals per game. He helped Naaman Forest reach the 5A semifinals where they lost to eventual state champion Flower Mound Marcus.
“I’m a long, quick, pass-first type of guy that can attack and do what I have to do when I am called upon,” Holland said.
The Longhorns have called upon him. It’s now up to him if he wants to accept.