Plenty of college programs recruited Dante Holmes throughout his four years at St. Frances.
The 6-foot-3, 185-pound wing heard pitches from coaches in the ACC, Big East, Big 12 and Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, among others. But a late entrant from Conference USA ultimately earned Holmes' commitment.
"We did an official visit over the weekend, and it was one of those things where some schools started calling like Boston College, Iowa State," said Carlos Green, a St. Frances assistant and Holmes' uncle. "But Marshall just ... wanted him really bad. They were real consistent in his recruitment. The head coach, as soon as he got the job, he called the next day. He wanted to come and see Dante. The assistant coach was consistent in calling and it was just a real good fit."
Holmes, who also considered Loyola, St. John's and UAB, committed to the Thundering Herd on Monday. Green said Holmes would sign his letter of intent to Marshall either "tonight or tomorrow morning."A two-time second-team All-Metro selection, Holmes guided the Panthers to the MIAA A Conference championship this past winter. After the completion of Holmes' senior season, recruiting started picking up significantly. Green said Marshall -- which finished 24-10 this year -- emerged as a possibility last month.
Tom Herrion was hired to replace Donnie Jones -- who took the Central Florida job -- as Marshall's coach April 10. Herrion, the former Pittsburgh assistant and College of Charleston head coach, spent one day on the job before identifying Holmes as a top prospect on the Thundering Herd's wish list. On the second day of the open contact period, Herrion came to Baltimore to see Holmes in action. Green said Herrion came away impressed with Holmes, who should see "double-digit minutes" as a true freshman.
"He said basically like, 'We don't promise starting spots,'" Green said. "How hard he works depends [on how much he is] going to play right away. ... But Coach's style of play is really get up and down and that's pretty much Dante's style. They're going to run it as much as possible. They run some sets, but they're going to get up and down the floor and play pressure defense. That's the perfect fit for his game."
Holmes finished his St. Frances career with two MIAA A Conference championships and two Baltimore Catholic League titles. He scored more than 1,200 points over his past two seasons, leaving behind a legacy as one of the most successful players in St. Frances' illustrious history. Holmes' past clearly impressed the new Marshall staff.
"I think the main thing they see is a guy who can come in and play every day, every possession," Green said. "He's just a winner and he's the kind of player that does a little bit of everything. One minute he's doing his thing defensively, and [the next minute] he can score. For a guard, his height is [a] real [positive], and he can do a bit of everything. The main thing with him is winning. He's been a winner ever since he was 11 years old."
Baltimore Sun photo of Dante Holmes by Gene Sweeney Jr. / Jan. 22, 2009