AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas head men’s basketball coach Chris Beard landed one of the biggest recruits in the country Friday, and he didn’t have to go far to get him.
Ron Holland, and 6-foot-8 forward from Duncanville, signed a National Letter of Intent to play hoops for the Longhorns next season. The early signing period for basketball players runs from Nov. 9-16.
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Holland is considered the top recruit in Texas by 247Sports and No. 10 nationally according to the recruiting service’s composite rankings. He was named the national junior of the year last season by MaxPreps and he was named a sophomore All-American by the site the year before.
“I have grown up in Texas and I want to be loyal to my home state. I can accomplish all my goals at home,” Holland told ESPN’s Paul Biancardi on Nov. 5 when he announced his verbal commitment to the Longhorns.
He’s the first member of the 2023-24 signing class for the Longhorns, and he’s won at not just the prep level with the Panthers, but also at the international level with Team USA. He helped the U.S. team in July win gold at the FIBA U-17 World Cup in Spain, and the August before that he led the U.S. to gold in the FIBA Americans U-16 tournament in Mexico. He had 21 points and 12 rebounds against Argentina in the gold medal game of that tournament.
His senior year at Duncanville barely got started before it took a turn, however. The team’s Class 6A state championship it won last season was stripped by the UIL when it was determined the Panthers used an ineligible player last year, and coach David Peavey was suspended for a year and placed on three years probation. All of the Panthers’ state records and wins were also wiped out by the sanctions.
Coupled with discipline against the girls basketball program, school district administrators reassigned athletic director Dwight Weaver and announced Friday that the Panthers would not play in the UIL playoffs. Duncanville ISD Superintendent Dr. Marc Smith said that if the school takes itself out of the state playoffs this year, the UIL won’t punish the program further.
“Duncanville ISD respects the UIL, we are a proud member of the organization, and all of us want to expedite decisions that prove our commitment to winning with honor by following UIL rules,” Smith said in a statement.
The Panthers will still play in national showcase tournaments and honor its district games. The Panthers are set to travel to Hillsboro, Oregon for the Les Schwab Invitational, one of the country’s premier high school holiday basketball tournaments Dec. 27-29.