Boys Basketball

This 2-sport star and straight-A student from Columbia has plenty of college options

Columbia senior is a 2-sport star in football and basketball

Columbia Eagles senior Jordan Holmes talks about possible college destinations in basketball and football.
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Columbia Eagles senior Jordan Holmes talks about possible college destinations in basketball and football.

Whether it be in football or basketball, Columbia senior Jordan Holmes should have no trouble finding a college home.

Holmes, a receiver in football and a point guard in basketball, has been contacted by numerous schools interested in adding his skill set to their programs.

The 6-foot Holmes said his passion for both sports is “dead even.” Columbia basketball coach Mark Sandstrom, though, believes Holmes can play at the Division I or Division II level.

Holmes, who averaged 20.9 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.3 steals and nearly three assists last season, hopes he has that opportunity. He traveled the country with his summertime AAU circuit and drew interest from Western Michigan, Boise State, South Dakota, Lipscomb, Vermont and Lafayette. Truman State, McKendree, Monmouth, Dartmouth, Indiana State, Air Force and Navy also took a look at Holmes.

“I’m just trying to soak it in right now. It’s a lot to handle, but I’m going to think about it now that football is winding down. I’m going to kick into basketball mode and start thinking about my options with basketball,” he said. “And I’ve also got football to think about. I’m just going to go wherever the best option takes me.”

In football, Holmes has an offer from Air Force. A turf-toe injury and a mild high-ankle sprain will sideline him for Columbia’s first-round game in the Class 4A playoffs at 7 p.m. Friday at Herscher. Holmes has 43 catches for 614 yards and six touchdowns for the 5-4 Eagles.

“I haven’t really thought much about that,” Holmes said of playing college football. “But football, I’ve been playing since I was 5 years old, and I’ve just loved it ever since I started. I think it would be really cool to go play anywhere for football. It’s the same for basketball. My options are open for both sports.”

Holmes has scored 1,011 points in his varsity basketball career, including 194 as a freshman when his brother, Jonathan, was a junior. Jonathan Holmes, a 5-10 guard, is attending Arkansas and made the team last year as a freshman walk-on.

Jordan Holmes expects to be healthy when the Eagles’ basketball season begins Nov. 20 at Mascoutah. Holmes knows it’s an important year as it relates to his future.

“It’s going to matter how my senior season goes,” Holmes said. “I’ve had coaches tell me summer ball is more important, but I really think my senior year is going to be the most impactful on all the coaches that have been looking at me. I’m looking to go out there, give it my best and see where it goes.”

Holmes, a straight-A student, describes himself as “a leader on the floor.” His favorite player is Russell Westbrook, a point guard with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

“I’m the guy that’s going to rally the troops and get us (organized),” Holmes said. “If something’s going wrong in a game, I’m going to round us back up. I love having the ball in my hands and making plays. I love coming off screens and pulling up (for a shot). That was my game last year. I want to have more moves in my arsenal. Finishing around the rim, I love doing that.”

As a younger player, Holmes said New Orleans Pelicans point guard Rajon Rondo and his playmaking abilities were a big influence. Rondo was then with the Boston Celtics.

“Growing up, I always loved how he found Ray Allen in the corner or Kevin Garnett in the post,” Holmes said. “It was nice to see how he could find players and make his teammates better. That’s what I want to do, too.”

Sandstrom credits Holmes for being the floor general.

“Jordan has the ball in his hands all the time,” said Sandstrom, who is starting his 13th season at Columbia. “He’s the best overall court-sense player that I’ve had. There’s not too many point guards that lead you in scoring and also lead you in rebounding.

“Jordan is calm and cool under pressure. He’s poised. Jordan’s first thing has always been about helping the team win and being that leader. He’s one of the top five players in the metro-east, regardless of class. All the intangibles you can’t coach, he has.”

Holmes leans heavily on Sandstrom and his parents, David and Tracey Holmes.

“This is my parents’ first rodeo; they’ve never had to go through this,” Jordan Holmes said. “With them helping me out every day ... it impacts me a lot. Sandstrom has been telling me, ‘Do what’s best for you. Don’t get caught up in the big Division I scholarship. Do what fits you best, and you’ll be happy.’

“The attention is really overwhelming. Knowing you have a lot of (options) for two sports, it’s a lot to handle. But I’ll end up making the right decision.”

David Wilhelm: @DavidMWilhelm