Texas Tech men’s basketball graduate transfer from Stephen F. Austin, TJ Holyfield has made an immediate impact on the court for the Red Raiders as he is one of the oldest players on the team.
After sitting out all last season with an injury, Holyfield transferred from the Lumberjacks’ team and chose Tech over other schools in the Big 12 Conference. With so much youth on the roster, head coach Chris Beard said that he and fellow graduate transfer Chris Clarke are going to be a big part of this year’s squad both on the stat sheet and in the locker room.
Freshman Jahmi’us Ramsey said he has enjoyed playing with Holyfield so far. He said his versatility helps energize the team and pushes the whole team to be better.
“Holyfield’s great. I’m amazed every time I’m out on the floor with him. He brings so much to the team. Everything he brings to the table just energizes us and makes us play better,” Ramsey said. “Versatility, he can do everything, rebound, shoot, assist. He’s just very versatile.”
Holyfield recorded 20 points in Tech’s last outing against Bethune-Cookman on Saturday night. He shot 8-11, and in the game prior against Eastern Illinois, he shot 7-9 and scored 15 points.
Beard said he is not surprised by Holyfield’s success and it is why he recruited him. After two games, he said he has been impressed with the way Holyfield has played and contributed to the team.
“Again, just impressed with Holyfield. Not surprised, I’m not hugging him and kumbaya-ing with him in the locker room. I’m not asking for his autograph,” Beard said. “This is what we recruited him to do, is to make plays on both ends. I’m enjoying coaching him because he takes hard coaching, he’s a grown man out there. He’s not gonna go 8-11 or 7-9 every night, but I like his aggressiveness.”
As Beard recognized Holyfield will not shoot at as high of a rate he has in his first two games every night, he said he will still support the graduate transfer he brought in.
“I’m gonna be the same guy who’s sitting here on a night when he goes 3-11, no problem, that’s basketball,” Beard said. “I like him being aggressive. There’s a relationship between Holyfield playing well, and Holyfield being aggressive.”
After two games, Holyfield averaged 17.5 points and six rebounds while shooting 78.9 percent from the field, according to Tech Athletics. Beard acknowledged how good Holyfield has been at putting up points, but said his leadership is just as important as the numbers.
“Holyfield has had two impressive games in terms of the stat sheet but, equally important is the leadership he’s bringing,” Beard said. “Those two seniors are off to great starts for us. We’re not 2-0 without those guys.”
Holyfield and the rest of the Red Raiders will travel to Midland to take on Houston Baptist on Wednesday at 7 p.m.