Some fans say Richaun Holmes is the hustle behind the Phoenix Suns. Holmes doesn’t necessarily disagree.
“I just come out and play with energy,” he says. “I run the floor and just make a lot of energy plays.”
Phoning from Boston, where the team had just completed a four-game winning streak, Holmes is excited about where the team is going.
“Everybody in the locker room has a will to compete,” Holmes says. “There are a lot of prideful guys on the team. We genuinely enjoy playing together. We just trying to find our rhythm, but things are getting better.”
The center/power forward is a basketball late bloomer. Holmes, the son of two Doctors of Divinity, went from 6-foot-2 to 6-foot-9 in high school in Broadview, Illinois, west of Chicago.
“In high school, I didn’t get that much playing time until my senior year,” he says.
“I was a late bloomer, I would say, in high school. I chose to go to junior college.”
Upon graduation, he played for Moraine Valley Community College, where he was an All-American. He averaged 19.3 points, 9.3 rebounds and 5.2 blocks per game. Holmes transferred to Bowling Green University.
He dedicated himself to improving, sometimes taking 1,000 shots a day in practice under head coach Chris Jans. It wasn’t until midway through college that he realized he had the talent to go pro.
“I think it became realistic for me when I was a sophomore in college,” he says. “My coaches told me I had a chance to play professionally. Ever since that day, I worked every day to get to that point. Thanks to hard work, I made it.”
On June 25, 2015, Holmes was selected with the 37th overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft by the Philadelphia 76ers. He played summer league for the team and inked a contract with them shortly thereafter. He bounced around between the NBA, Summer League and the NBA Development League before landing a spot on the 76ers’ permanent roster. The year 2017 was one of records for Holmes. He tied a career high in points with 24 on March 20 in a game versus the Orlando Magic; and nine days later beat that with 25 points against the Atlanta Hawks.
He was traded to the Phoenix Suns last summer.
“I love competing,” says Holmes, a free agent after this season. “The NBA has the best players in the world.”
On Holmes’ Twitter feed, he professes his love of music, faith, family and bowling.
“I’m a big-time spades player,” he says. “I also enjoy bowling and things of that sort.
“Bowling was my first sport before I started playing basketball. I’ll bowl anywhere, in any city.”
The tattooed athlete is the father to 2-year-old son RJ. His mother, Dr. Lydecia Holmes, has been an outspoken advocate of her son, asking the Suns to increase his playing time.
“My family has been that way since I was young,” Holmes says. “They’ve been to every game since I can remember. They love to see me do well.”