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Zac Holman signs with Wheaton College

Josh VanDyke • Apr 21, 2017 at 7:30 AM

GRAND HAVEN TWP. — In front of a packed classroom full of family, friends and teammates at Grand Haven High School on Thursday afternoon, Grand Haven senior basketball standout Zac Holman made his future plans official — he’ll be continuing his basketball career at Wheaton College in Illinois next year.

Holman committed to the Thunder in March, but waited until Thursday to sign his letter of intent, so he could share the moment with his cousin, Claire Holman, who signed with Hope College to continue her volleyball career with the Flying Dutch.

“I’m just excited to go down and get started and start the process of getting to know the teammates, getting to know the coaches and getting to know the playbook,” said Zac after the ceremony. “It’s a new adventure for me, and I’m looking forward to it. It was really cool to share the moment with Claire. We’re going to have our grad parties together, too, so it just made sense to do a joint signing like this.”

After weighing his options, Wheaton College just felt like home to Holman.

“(Head) Coach (Mike) Schauer was a big reason why I committed to Wheaton,” Holman added. “He came to a lot of my games, and he was very encouraging to me. He let me know early on in the process what he thought of me as a player and how I would fit into their system. I just really felt comfortable with what I was getting into over there between the college, the coaches and the guys on the team.

“I think I’ll probably start at the two guard position and then work toward becoming a point guard as the years go on. He wants me to eventually be a bigger point guard, so I’m looking forward to that adventure as well.”

In his senior campaign, Holman scored 13.8 points per game, grabbed four rebounds per contest and added three assists and two steals per game. He was named to the O-K Red Conference first team and was honorable mention All-State in Class A.

“I think I’ve improved a lot as a scorer,” Holman said of his career. “My sophomore year, I think I only averaged about six points a game, and then over the next two years, I got that up to about 14-15 points a game. I worked really hard over the offseason on my jumpshot, drives to the basket and finishes at the rim, and I think that has really helped me become the player that I am today.”

For Holman, the game of basketball has always been an adrenaline rush.

“For me, I love the intensity of the game,” he said. “I just enjoy the pre-game nerves, running out on the court and playing in front of a crowd. I just love that excitement and that energy and that’s pretty much the reason I play basketball.”

Grand Haven boys varsity basketball coach Greg Immink observed the ceremonies and couldn’t have been happier for his senior leader.

“In a way, it’s bittersweet for me, because he’s been such a big part of this program for the last several years,” he said. “You’re always happy for your players when they work so hard to try and achieve something like playing at the college level, and they are able to achieve that goal.

“Only 3 percent of high school athletes end up playing a college sport. Zac is someone who has achieved that goal through a lot of hard work, so I’m excited for him and I’m looking forward to watching him play down in Chicago next year.”

To Immink, what sets Holman apart is his ability to be a complete player who makes his teammates better.

“He’s always had a very high basketball IQ, he has a great feel for the game, understands the game so well, knows how to get the other players on the court involved, and he plays really hard,” he added. “He competes at everything he does, so I’m sure going into next year that the staff at Wheaton will have plenty of things for him to work on and improve at.

“Just like anything else, it’s a big step to the college level, but one thing I do know is that Zac is going to put the work in that’s required to succeed at that level.”

Immink had high praise for this year’s team captain.

“He’s probably the best leader I’ve ever coached,” he continued. “He gets all the guys on the team to realize what they are all capable of and convinces them to take a team-first attitude. He’s such an unselfish person and an unselfish player. Our team had so many moving parts last year, and he was a big reason why we had such good chemistry and such a good atmosphere around our team, because he was able to keep everybody focused on the big picture and the goals we had set forth. So, for that, I was very fortunate to be his coach.”

After two seasons as the leader of the Buccaneer basketball program, Immink hopes to continue the trend of putting his players in college.

“It’s awesome. We had a handful of guys last year sign to play college ball, and now Zac is continue that trend,” he continued. “I think that’s the mark of a good program. Not only are our kids doing well on the court, but also succeeding in the classroom and socially. Coaches at the college level take notice of that, and Zac is a perfect example of those things.

“Hopefully we can continue that trend here. Zac is the next in line in what we’re trying to do here, which is develop well-rounded student athletes.”

Josh VanDyke is the sports editor at the Grand Haven Tribune. For more stories and breaking local news, follow him on Twitter: @JoshVanDykeGHT

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