BANGOR — Jordan Holmes did not bring any expectations with him to Husson University, he just wanted to play basketball. Now, he is getting his chance.

A graduate of Messalonskee High School, Holmes is a freshman on the Husson men’s basketball team (10-2, 8-0 North Atlantic Conference) and has recently worked his way into more playing time.

“I didn’t really expect to get much time being a freshman, but of course me being a basketball player I wanted to play basketball,” Holmes said. “I worked my way in, just trying to get a role. I didn’t want to be the man, I wasn’t trying to score every time or anything, I just wanted to work to get that role on the team and be part of the game.”

That hard work — and some other circumstances beyond his control — led Holmes to get his first career start on Jan. 10 in a 78-64 win over Maine Maritime. He finished with two rebounds, four assists, one turnover and three points on 1-of-1 shooting in 17 minutes of action.

“We had some things happen that we had to take care of. When guys in front of him didn’t quite make it to shoot around on time he moved into the spot and it was an opportunity for him,” Husson coach Warren Caruso said. “He performed well and it earned him more minutes in the next game, which I think at Farmington he was 2-for-3 from the three and did some nice things.”

In the following game against the Beavers on Jan. 13 Holmes finished with six points, two rebounds and two assists in a 72-52 win. He did not get any time in an 82-77 win over Colby-Sawyer last Friday, but the following night he saw eight minutes of action in an 82-79 win over New England College.

While his statistics have not been overwhelming, Caruso said Holmes has done the little things that do not necessarily show up in the box score to earn more playing time.

“He’s a really tough defender. That’s one of the things we really like about him,” Caruso said. “I always felt like he played with a lot of tenacity in high school, didn’t back down against anybody and usually rose to the occasion. That’s one of the things when we saw from him in high school and he brings that same approach as a freshman to every practice. I think that’s one of the things that will make him very successful.

…He brings a blue-collar approach every day and a hard-nosed manner about playing and we just love his effort.”

Of course, Holmes got a good taste of just what the next level would be like every day in practice while at Messalonskee last winter by playing with Nick Mayo. Now a senior, Mayo has committed to play Division I basketball at Eastern Kentucky University.

“Playing with him was definitely a good experience for me,” Holmes said. “Playing with a big, fast, talented basketball player I really got to see just what that kind of level and speed is.”

For now though, Holmes is just hoping to do his part to help Husson continue the success it has already enjoyed this season. The Eagles won the NAC last year and qualified for the Division III tournament, and this winter they find themselves once again on top of the league despite graduating seven seniors.

“I’m a little perplexed at times. You look at our roster and six out of our top 10 guys are freshmen playing in the rotation and another one is a sophomore. That’s exciting,” Caruso said. “I think our youthful enthusiasm so to speak has aided in our play and we’ll see if we can keep that going through conference (play).

“I’m really pleased with the start. We graduated six five-year seniors a year ago and we kind of picked things up from where we left off last year. It’s been a tremendous credit to the guys we have this year.”

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected],com

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley

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