Former Falcon soars in NBA

Richaun Holmes came to Bowling Green as a 6-foot-8 sophomore from Lockport, Illinois.
Holmes, who spent a year at junior college, already had an innate ability to block shots, pairing size
with timing to impact basketball games on the defensive end.
He entered the Mid-American Conference after setting the single-season record for blocked shots at
Moraine Valley Community College in Illinois. As a team captain, Holmes blocked more than five shots per
game in a 27-win season.
During his first year at BG, despite just a pair of starts and fewer than seven points per game, he set
another single-season blocks record with 73 to break what was nearly a 40-year record.
Holmes is now in his fifth NBA season still blocking more than one shot per game. But in his first season
as a full-time starter, the now 6-10 Holmes is playing 30 minutes per game while averaging nearly a
The National Basketball Association wasn’t always a legitimate possibility for the one-skilled big man.

“I just wanted to keep working. I think that was always my mindset, just keep working and let the days
take care of themselves. I fell in love with working hard here, learned my work ethic, got it from coach
(Chris) Jans,” Holmes said. “Took it to the NBA, put the same work in, continued to get better day after
day. And I’m still here, so I’m going to continue to take that same approach.”
That consistent daily work ethic Holmes developed at BGSU helped transform him from a one-trick pony into
a dominant, fear-imposing, professional-caliber inside presence.
Jans, now the men’s basketball head coach at New Mexico State, came to BG after spending nearly a decade
as an assistant as Wichita State. In his one season, BG won more than 20 games and Holmes produced his
best collegiate season.
“Walking in the door, anybody could see the talent, the body. In my opinion, he had probably
underachieved a little bit up until that point in his career,” Jans said. “He said all the right things,
and he wanted more. He worked. He worked at it. He sat out some goals for himself and had an inner
desire to be the best and be in the NBA.
“He just kind of kept his nose to the grindstone if you will, he kept getting better and better.”
Holmes and Jans did not always see eye to eye in the beginning, butting heads early in the year. But as
the season progressed, Jans could see the forward begin to understand the kind of work necessary to take
the next step.
Holmes responded by winning the MAC Defensive Player of the Year award while becoming the all-time leader
in blocked shots at BG.
“I cant remember just one day where it clicked. But it was like the light … You could see the light
flickering over time. It was fun to watch,” Jans said.
“When you’re built like that and have that much athleticism and that much talent, it’s real easy to coast
on some days when you don’t feel like giving your all. Or you know you’re that much better than the guy
you’re going against in practice. I just felt like there was so much room for growth there for Richaun.

“Slowly but surely, as a staff, we watched his transformation right before our eyes. Anyone who watched
him closely as a collegiate player could see it as well.”
Holmes was invited to participate in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament after his senior season — a
tournament dedicated to just college seniors.
That summer he performed well and earned his way into the NBA draft as a second round pick.
“That work ethic. That last year I was here, especially that summer, throughout that season, I think just
me working hard and putting myself into position to be better. Just giving myself the opportunity was
very important,” Holmes said. “That’s something that was important, something that stuck with me, that’s
something that has become kind of my calling card in the NBA.”
Holmes made it to BG with an NBA-level skill. But it was at Bowling Green where the big man tapped into
his potential.
He used that same skill — his unprecedented shot blocking — to get a professional opportunity. The work
ethic turned him into a household name.
“That’s one thing people misconstrue about the NBA. That one skill is what gets you in the door, gives
you opportunity to work hard and show them what else you have,” Holmes said. “Just showing your work
ethic. … The shot blocking I did at BG is what got me kind of noticed. I just continued to round out my
game and that’s how I stayed around.”
Last month, the beloved big man came back to BG to be honored. Jan. 21 was dubbed Richaun Holmes Day in
Bowling Green and a jam-packed Stroh Center was deafening as the former Falcon addressed the fans at
center court.
From community college to the NBA, Richaun Holmes is now a name known across the country. But the
relentless Holmes shaped himself in Bowling Green.