Mike Holloway liked the idea of standing outside his big brother's considerable shadow.

"It was like he had his spotlight and I had my spotlight," Mike Holloway said of his decision to play the first two seasons of his high school career at a different school than his older brother, Rashaan.

Mike Holloway, a 6-foot-6 forward, averaged 16.4 points last season as a sophomore at Sacred Heart in Vineland, Cumberland County.

Rashaan Holloway, a 6-9 center, averaged 22.7 points last season as a junior at Schalick in Pittsgrove, Salem County.

The brothers were doing well on their own.

But when Sacred Heart closed in June, Mike Holloway transferred to Schalick and joined his brother to form one of South Jersey's most imposing interior duos.

"It's like I was supposed to play with my brother," Mike Holloway said. "It's win-win."

With the Holloway brothers as well as returning three-year starters in seniors Melvin Allen and DeAndre Solomon, Schalick looms as a team to beat in the Tri-County Diamond Division as well as a challenger to favorites Pitman and Paulsboro in South Jersey Group 1.

"It's kind of weird how it worked out," said Rashaan Holloway, a University of Massachusetts recruit. "After middle school, I didn't think we'd be playing together except in AAU. But now that we're together, it's the best situation for both of us."

Rashaan Holloway is a powerful player who has improved his footwork, hands, and conditioning over his career.

"Time, time, time," Rashaan Holloway said of the key to his development. "We play every day, work out every day. If we can't get in a gym, we go to a park. We always want to play."

Rashaan Holloway also had offers from Temple, La Salle, Drexel, Marshall, and Seton Hall. He opted to sign with Massachusetts, which was ranked 22d in the nation last week.

"Something about it just felt right to me," Rashaan Holloway said. "It was my instincts that told me that was the right place for me."

Mike Holloway said he started playing basketball about a year or two ahead of his older brother. And he was taller than Rashaan for a while, too.

"Then he sprouted," Mike Holloway said.

Mike Holloway has a mid-range game that should complement his brother's inside play. In a recent scrimmage at Cherry Hill West, Mike Holloway ran the floor with speed and knocked down a couple of jump shots.

"They both come from a great family, and both have major upsides," Schalick coach Eric Cassidy said. "Both are Division I players who are getting better every day."

Both brothers realize that this likely will be their last season together. They didn't expect to get this opportunity, so they are determined to make the most of it.

"I know I'm never getting this year back, playing with my teammates, playing with my brother," Rashaan Holloway said. "I'm not holding anything back."

panastasia@phillynews.com

@PhilAnastasia

www.inquirer.com/

jerseysidesports