After career-best performances in back-to-back games this past weekend, small forward Caleb Holmes ’08 was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week yesterday.
“It’s very exciting,” Holmes said. “I had a very good weekend. I wish we had come out with another win, but it’s always nice to be recognized.”
The Elis entered last weekend desperate for a league win after dropping their first two conference contests to Penn and Princeton two weekends ago. Holmes picked the perfect time to step up, scoring a career-high 15 points in a 77-67 victory over Columbia on Friday night in Morningside Heights, N.Y. He shot 4-for-7 from the field, including 3-for-5 from three-point range.
One night later against Cornell in Ithaca, N.Y., Holmes played a career-high 31 minutes and scored 11 points, shooting a perfect 3-for-3 from beyond the arc. The Elis ultimately lost to the Big Red in double overtime, 87-82.
Holmes said he had been struggling with his shot, but over the weekend he found his touch.
“When you’re hitting shots, it gives you a lot more confidence to step up and make another shot,” he said. “I just want to continue to help the team in any way I can. I scored last weekend, but if the shots are not falling next weekend, I will play good defense and get some rebounds.”
The offensive emergence of Holmes and freshman guard Eric Flato ’08 has ignited the Eli bench. The reserves were averaging a paltry 11 points combined entering last weekend, but contributed 26 points against Columbia and 23 points against Cornell. Holmes scored 26 points over the two games, while Flato added 20 points.
Flato earned Rookie of the Week honors earlier in the season, receiving recognition following his 16-point performance in the Elis’ 90-84 overtime victory over Santa Clara Dec. 29.
Holmes’ twin brother and teammate, forward Nick Holmes ’08, said playing collegiate ball with his brother is mutually beneficial — as was apparent this weekend.
“When we were out there on Saturday, we were just having a lot of fun,” Nick Holmes said. “We just know each other’s game so well that I think it’s an advantage for us when we are on the court together.”
Nick Holmes described growing up playing basketball with his brother as competitive but fun. The brothers played together in high school at Olathe South High in Olathe, Kan.
“During the recruiting process it was kind of a competition, but not really because we both knew we’d have a chance to play Div. I basketball,” Nick Holmes said. “After our sophomore year, a lot more coaches called for him than for me, and after our junior year more called for me than for him. We’re pretty used to being grouped together.”
The two brothers have not spent as much time playing together this season. Nick has been hampered by an ankle injury for most of the season, which has limited his time on the court.
“It’s getting better,” Nick Holmes said. “They think it’s a torn ligament, so it’s not going to get [completely] better until after the season. It hurts me a little bit, but I play through it.”