Academically ineligible Holloway lost to Minutemen for season

For The Recorder
Monday, January 22, 2018

AMHERST — Rashaan Holloway’s season is over.

UMass announced Monday that the junior big man is academically ineligible and won’t play again this season.

Holloway hasn’t played since Jan. 3 against George Mason. Prior to UMass’ Jan. 6 game at Dayton, Minuteman coach Matt McCall announced that Holloway was suspended for failing to live up to team standards.

Those standards turned out to be academic. The start of the spring semester Monday made Holloway’s situation official.

“We’ve always talked about our standard here. (Academics) are extremely important to us and extremely important in recruiting and the type of players we recruit. It has to be important to you,” McCall said. “Playing this game here is a privilege. Rashaan is a great kid who has played a lot of games for this university. We’ll continue to support him in any way we can.”

Holloway, who sat out his freshman year as an academic nonqualifier, will need to have both his grade-point-average and his progress toward his degree reach minimum levels to be eligible for his final season next year.

NCAA rules allow him to do anything other athletes can do but play or travel. McCall said Holloway isn’t at practice so he can focus on his academics. He’s doing supervised workouts and individual instruction and weight work.

“Hopefully this serves as a wake-up call for him. He’s close to graduating. We want to do anything we can to help him,” McCall said. “We have a great academic staff and academic coordinator in Matt Komer.”

UMass initially played well in his absence. Often using a smaller lineup, the Minutemen won at Dayton and had comeback victories over La Salle and Saint Joseph’s. But his offensive and defensive presence was missed in lopsided losses to Rhode Island and Saint Louis.

“We’ve know for a while this was a possibility. He hasn’t been in the lineup since George Mason,” McCall said. “We just have to get better.”

A preseason injury seemed to slow Holloway at times early in the season, and foul trouble limited his minutes throughout. He averaged 9.9 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.73 blocked shots in 15 games played (13 starts). He had 13 points and 10 rebounds in 24 minutes against George Mason, his final game of the season.

UMass (10-10, 3-4 Atlantic 10) has 11 regular-season games remaining, plus the Atlantic 10 Tournament.

Malik Hines, who had played the four with Holloway in the lineup, has moved over to center in his absence. McCall has used Chris Baldwin and occasionally freshman Khalea Turner-Morris with Hines in traditional lineups. But McCall has played four- and even five-guard alignments more often.

UMass has just seven remaining scholarship players on the roster. Walk-on Rayshawn Miller already plays 25.9 minutes per game.

Holloway was not available for comment.