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Holloway making presence felt quickly at FDU

The transition from high school to college athletics can be eye-opening, even to those who are apparently making a seamless adjustment.

The transition from high school to college athletics can be eye-opening, even to those who are apparently making a seamless adjustment.

That certainly is the case for Mike Holloway, a 2015 Schalick graduate, who finds himself in the starting lineup for Fairleigh Dickson these days.

Not only is the 6-foot-7, 245-pound Holloway picking things up quickly, but he entered the weekend third in the Northeast Conference in field-goal percentage (.592).

"I was pretty nervous at the beginning, getting in the lineup and getting so many minutes, but I just adjusted," Holloway said. "I realize I can't go out there and play like a freshman and I have to play like an upperclassman."

He has been for the most part.

Heading into Friday's home game with Towson, Holloway was averaging 7.2 points, 4.9 rebounds and 20.7 minutes, while starting seven of the first nine contests for the Knights, who were 3-6.

That doesn't mean the adjustment has been easy for Holloway, nor is it for most freshmen.

"The speed is very different from high school," he said. "In high school it is like a jog and this is like a full sprint."

Fairleigh Dickinson coach Greg Herenda agrees with his freshman about the speed of the game.

"He is a big guy and he can handle the size, but the speed and the pace of the game is so much quicker and faster and that has been the biggest adjustment and Mike is making it," Herenda said. "He is getting better on a daily basis and is a very good learner and is very attentive to coaching."

Another adjustment is facing bigger players. In high school Holloway was often the tallest player on the court. That's not the case anymore.

"I never had to play 6-10 and 6-9 guys and now I am getting banged up and I have to adjust," he said. "I have to bang with them, just as they are banging with me."

That makes quite a loud bang when the big bodies are jostling.

Yet one of the biggest adjustments that most high school players have to make is no longer being the "man," at least to start.

Remember Holloway's final game as a high school player, which came in last year's 81-59 loss to eventual state champion Paulsboro in the South Jersey Group 1 final? Holloway exited the high school stage with 29 points and 14 rebounds in that game.

So a high school player certainly has to check in his ego before each practice and realize that putting up the type of numbers that were done routinely in high school, likely won't happen in college, at least on a consistent basis.

Holloway isn't worried about statistics. He went from being a dominant inside presence in high school, to attempting to hold his own at FDU, a noble goal no doubt on the Division I level.

Holloway wasn't allowed to ease into the competition. Holloway's first college game came against Villanova, a 91-54 loss, where he had two points, four rebounds, while fouling out in 22 minutes.

FDU has played a difficult non-conference schedule, but that should help the Knights when they begin Northeast Conference play. Herenda feels it will definitely benefit Holloway.

"When we get in our league you will see him getting more touches and opportunities, because then it is apples vs. apples," Herenda said. "Now we are playing teams like Villanova and Temple and there is very little room for young guys to roam but once we get in the Northeast Conference, he will fit in."

Holloway says he loves playing college basketball and adds that time management is the key. Managing one's time is the best skill any freshman can learn.

Just as the basketball is more intense, so is the academic workload.

Still, Holloway is having the time of his life.

"This has been so much fun," he said.

Challenging, but fun, just the type of environment any former high school standout should strive for while taking that extraordinary huge leap to the next level.