Friar Basketball

Q&A with Emmitt Holt’s Coach Hank Plona

Holt 2

Looking to learn more about newest Providence commit Emmitt Holt, I caught up with his head coach at Indian Hills, Hank Plona. Plona is a Providence graduate who worked as a student manager and then a graduate assistant during his time at PC.


Q. What role did you ask Emmitt to play this season, and how do you think some of what he did for you could translate at PC next season?

A. We asked Emmitt to be the best basketball player he could be. He naturally brings leadership qualities to a team because he brings 100% effort every single day. He’s a great team defender, he rebounds the ball, and can score when asked to do so. His unselfishness on both offense and defense allows him to impact the game in a positive way on both ends of the floor.

Q. From EYBL to Indiana to playing for you last season at Indian Hills, Emmitt always shot a high percentage. What are the strengths of his offensive game?

A. There are times when I wish Emmitt would shoot a little lower percentage because we wanted him to take more shots!  Again, he has such a team-first mentality and is just as happy when a teammate scores as when he scores. He has very long arms, which allows him to score around the basket. He has a great mid-range jump shot and is on the verge of being able to shoot 3s in games. His shot has certainly developed over the past few years and that is because of his hard work.

Q. When did Providence begin recruiting him, and what stood out to Emmitt throughout PC’s recruitment?

A. Providence started recruiting him in January, I believe, and I think Emmitt liked that Coach Cooley was involved in his recruitment from the start. Emmitt was certainly interested in playing in the Big East, being from upstate New York, and Providence and Coach Cooley showed a need for him to come in and play a big role as a junior. That is what Emmitt was looking for.

Q. How has he grown since leaving Indiana? What were your thoughts on adding him to your program after he had been dismissed from there, and how did he fare against your expectations coming in?

A. I think Emmitt has continued to grow up and mature, just like most 18- to 20-year-olds do.  Obviously, he had some negative attention that forced him to realize that as a scholarship basketball player, he was under a greater spotlight than an average student.

We do our homework on every kid we take, and the recommendations about Emmitt were as positive as any transfer I’ve taken. Emmitt comes from an outstanding family and has a great support system that has helped him realize that he needs to be aware of the situations that he puts himself in.

To this day, I have still not found a person that has anything negative to say about Emmitt’s character. I wouldn’t say he exceeded expectations because my expectations for him were extremely high, but he met them in every way, and I could not have been happier to have Emmitt as part of the Indian Hills basketball program.

Q. What type of athlete is he? Defensively, is he a shot blocker? 

A. Emmitt is a good athlete. He has a Division 1 body, is very strong, and moves well for his size.  He protects the rim with his length. He’ll get a block or two per game, but affects way more shots because of his intelligence of being in the right place to protect the rim. It was very noticeable around the basket when he was not in the game this year. He has a 7-foot wingspan that allows him to play bigger defensively than his height would suggest he can.

Q. What stood out about Emmitt once you started coaching him, and where have you seen the greatest development?

A. His intelligence and basketball IQ stood out immediately.  He, along with Yanick Moreira, who played at SMU, have the two best basketball minds of any frontcourt player I have been around in junior college.

He understands the game and what he needs to do to affect it. His leadership qualities have improved more than anything else. At Indiana, he was a freshman on a team full of older guys where he was learning. He quickly realized that as a sophomore with that year of experience at Indiana, he knew the type of attitude, work ethic, and consistency needed to have success and got better as the year went on about helping others match him on those levels.

Q. Were there any particularly noteworthy games he played this season? 

A. I thought he played his best in the biggest games. He had 20 points, 14 rebounds in a tough win at Iowa Western (who was a top 10 team), that stands out to me. At our level, we did not run across a ton of mid to high major frontcourt players this year. Iowa Western has about three of them, and Emmitt rose his level of play in every game against them. We lost to them the one game he missed with a sprained ankle. Regardless of his numbers, Emmitt’s defense, toughness, intensity, and team-first attitude helped us consistently win all season.

Q. If there is one characteristic or trait that most stands out about him what is it?

A. Emmitt’s unselfishness and willingness to do whatever it takes to help a team win games is what stands out. It stands out way above all else.

Twitter: @Kevin_Farrahar


One Comment

  1. Derec Lamemdola

    April 23, 2016 at 3:53 am

    That’s Aomse And Coach Coooley Needs All BIG Guyas Coach Coooley Needs To Get ALL BLACK Guyas On
    Providence College Next Season He Has To I’m Not Kding Were The 7 Fuder And Coach Ed Coooley Needs ALOT BIG Mean Sortong Get Ready Go And Pasetkias And Do You Undrtsan I’m Saying Were IS Derec Lamemdola Plays And I Will DO IT Next Season
    We Got Find OUT Bentil Enenething Going On I Don’t Won’t Bentil GO In The NBA I Don’t Won’t Him Lefe And He Loves Providence College This His Hometown Bentil Wonts To Stay Right Hear And Do For Me Derec Lamemdola Plerys We Need TUNN BIG Guyas In Procidence College And We Need FAT Guyas That’s We Need So We Can Domatmate

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