Aric Holman is still in awe that he’s headed to Los Angeles. He knew there was a pretty strong chance that he was going to make an NBA roster, but that doesn’t make his deal with the high-profile Lakers any less incredulous.
“It’s definitely amazing, but to be honest it hasn’t even really hit me yet,” said Holman, a 6-foot-10-inch forward who starred at Owensboro High School before playing at Mississippi State University. “All my family and friends are so excited for me, but it just hasn’t hit me. I think it will hit me once I get down there and start practicing and get ready for summer league.”
Holman’s name wasn’t called Thursday in the NBA draft, but he agreed to a deal with the Lakers early Friday morning.
“It was definitely a grateful moment,” said Holman, who turns 22 on July 11. “I had to work so hard my whole life, so being able to get that opportunity was a blessing. It hit home when I was able to sign with them. It was just a blessing at the end of the day.”
Holman said there were multiple teams that wanted him on their summer roster if he went undrafted, but he felt like LA was the perfect fit.
With LeBron James already on the team and Anthony Davis joining soon, there is already limited cap space for the team. If they can land a third superstar, that will give Holman an even greater chance to eventually make the final roster.
“We went with the best option for me and the best plan to make a roster,” he said. “They are trying to get rid of guys on contract so they can open up cap space. A guy like me may be able to sign for a year or two. I feel like I can contribute and be a working piece in that organization.”
Holman is heading to California today to prepare for the NBA Summer League, which begins July 5 and runs through July 15 in Las Vegas.
He’ll first see action July 1-3 in Sacramento in the California Classic, a three-day summer basketball showcase with the Sacramento Kings, Golden State Warriors, Miami Heat and Lakers.
All games for both the California Classic and Summer League will be aired live on either NBA TV, ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU.
Holman said he doesn’t know the full details of his deal just yet, as he can’t actually sign until July 6 per NBA rules. He said he’s not too worried about that at the moment, and is instead focused on proving himself.
“I’m going to do what I do best — be versatile and help out the team the best way I can,” Holman said. “My strengths (on court) are definitely my shooting and my IQ of the game.”
Holman’s success dates all the way back to his time at OHS, where he helped lead the Red Devils to a state title in during his senior campaign in 2014-2015. Holman went on to play four years at Mississippi State, where he first realized he had the chance to make it to the NBA.
Holman said every step of his journey helped him grow, and the support helped improve his game.
“It goes back to having great coaches and believing in myself,” he said. “Those little things helped me become the player I am today.”
Though he’s still got some work to do, Holman said he’s glad to represent Owensboro and be someone a younger generation can look upon.
“It’s a blessing and it’s a great feeling,” he said. “That was my main goal was to be a role model for the neighborhood that I grew up in.”