By Danny Cox
Name:Rondae Hollis-Jefferson #23
Weight: 220 lbs.
Hometown: Chester, PA
Position: Forward The Arizona Wildcats have been impressive throughout the entire 2014-15 season, but now things are truly getting big-time real. Arizona is in the Sweet 16 of the 2015 NCAA Tournament, and they are going to face off with an Xavier team that has surprised and upset many. The Wildcats need all their stars to play at their best, but they need the leadership of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson to get them there.
As a sophomore forward who is usually in the lane, Hollis-Jefferson isn’t the one that is in control of the offense and calling the plays, but you can just sense his leadership skills on the floor. He is dominant in calling for the ball and always being in a position that benefits every single one of his teammates.
Hollis-Jefferson led Chester High School to a 91-5 overall record in his final three seasons at the school and was the first-ever two-time Delaware County Player of the Year when he won it as a junior and senior. In 2011 and 2012, the Clippers won state titles and were the runner-up in his senior season.
A high school career that saw him finish with more than 1,000 points and a school-record 780 rebounds led him to be invited to USA Basketball’s U19 World Championship team trials in 2013 and the Nike Hoops Summit that same year. With the U18 Team USA squad, he won a silver medal and was far from finished.
Coming into Arizona, he played in all 38 games as a freshman and made six starts. He averaged 9;.1 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.4 assist, and 1.1 blocks while averaging over 25 points per game. He made an immediate impact for the Wildcats and even landed on the PAC-12 All-Freshman Team.
It was evident in Hollis-Jefferson’s freshman campaign that he was much more than offense. That was proven when he finished the season fourth on Arizona’s freshman list for blocks, and he was only getting better.
Now, as a sophomore, he is third on the team with 11.3 points per game and averaging close to 30 minutes per contest. He’s upped his rebounds to 6.9 per game and is still leading the team in blocks with almost one per every single game as well.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is looked at as a young and ambitious leader for the Wildcats, and one that has them on pace for a possible championship run. Fans and opponents are amazed at not only his strength, but also his agility and versatility.
Those who watched the game against Ohio State in the tournament saw him with a nifty no-look behind-the-back pass to Brandon Ashley, which resulted in an easy bucket late in the first half.
There is so much to Rondae Hollis-Jefferson’s game and so much more brought by the young man as who he is himself. The best part about it for Arizona is that he’s just a sophomore, and it’s possible they could still have him for at least two more seasons. The Wildcats hope he stays.
Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. Danny is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.