Prep Beat

JIM PETERS: It's been a whirlwind year for former Chesterton basketball player Holba

2014-05-01T17:30:00Z 2014-05-01T22:55:17Z JIM PETERS: It's been a whirlwind year for former Chesterton basketball player HolbaJim Peters Times Columnist nwitimes.com
May 01, 2014 5:30 pm  • 

It hasn't been quite a year since Matt Holba pulled up his Chesterton roots and moved with his family to central Indiana. It just doesn't seem that way.

"With everything that happened, it's gone by quick but it feels like a long time ago, too," Holba said. "There was moving, getting used to school and basketball, then it was a long season and by the time it ends, AAU's starting up again. It goes from one right to the other. Time just flew by."

Holba fit right in at Guerin Catholic, where the 6-foot-7 forward averaged over 15 points and six rebounds a game, helping the Golden Eagles reach the Class 3A South Semistate.

"Moving's tough on a lot of people," Holba said. "Everybody was so welcoming, which made the transition easy. I made friends easily. It helps when you play sports. Worse case scenario, you take somebody's spot and guys are angry and don't like you, but the group of guys was awesome. I came in and felt like I was here forever. They're all team players and they just wanted what was best."

With two similarly-sized post players, Holba saw most of his acton on the wing, where he developed his ball-handling and perimeter shooting, skills that are going to serve him well at the next level. He shot nearly 40 percent from the arc and over 50 overall.

"I had to do things I hadn't done before," Holba said. "I just have to try to keep improving on those and adding to what I'm doing for what I need to fo in college."

Holba's list of suitors continues to expand. He was offered this week by Penn State and Toledo, bringing his total to five. The others are Valparaiso, Lehigh and Providence, which has already secured former middle school teammate Ryan Fazekas of Marquette Catholic. Holba doesn't have a timetable for a decision, other than to have his plans determined by next season.

"It could be a month or two, after the open period in July or from then to the beginning of the season," Holba said. "I'm trying not to worry about (it) too much. I've started thinking about it, where I see myself at. I'm listening to people who want to talk to me. Right now, I'm kind of just enjoying my last AAU the best I can. After this, I have one more high school season left, then I'm off to wherever I'm going to play."

While time hasn't allowed him the opportunity to get back up this way often, social media keeps him close to his friends. Former Trojans teammate Cole Teal stayed with him the weekend of state, when they watched Fazekas lead Marquette to the Class A state title. He'll be back in Chesterton this weekend for the prom, which he's attending with girlfriend Brianna Stephan, a high jumper on the Chesterton track team.

Next month, he'll join forces next month with Fazekas and, if he's able to play, Chesterton's Chris Palombizio, for a junior-senior all-star game June 9 in Logansport.

"It'll be a lot of fun," Holba said. "I'm looking forward to it."

Despite the graduation of three senior starters, Holba expects Guerin to make another tournament push next season, and is ready to take on the lead role.

"This was supposed to be the big year, and we had a great season, but I think we can be just as good," he said. "I think we have just as good a chance to make a good run."

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at james.peters@nwi.com.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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