Mackenzie Holmes is going to be a Hoosier.

Gorham High’s 6-foot-2 junior center announced her verbal commitment to accept a basketball scholarship from Indiana University on Wednesday. She is the first player from her club team, the Maine Firecrackers, to commit to a Big 10 program.

“My mindset has always been to challenge myself,” Holmes said. “When I had this opportunity to play in a great conference, at a great school, I couldn’t pass it up.”

Holmes has a refined post game, runs the court well and was a Maine Sunday Telegram All-State pick as a sophomore. She averaged 21.7 points, 13.2 rebounds, 3.1 steals and 5.1 blocks per game this season for Gorham, guiding the Rams to the Class AA South championship.

Firecrackers Coach Don Briggs said Holmes was offered a scholarship by over 30 Division I schools. The club has sent several players to Division I programs, including Holmes’ former Gorham High teammate Emily Esposito, now a freshman at Villanova.

Indiana’s coaching staff was at over 20 Firecrackers games in 2017, watching Holmes against top-rated centers.

“They came to me and said, ‘We’ve been all around the country, we need this position, and we grade out all the post players we’ve watched and Mackenzie Holmes is – in our rating – the number two post player in the country,'” Briggs said.

Holmes received her first Division I offer from the University of New Hampshire as a freshman.

“At first the thought of leaving New England was terrifying to me,” she said. “As the recruiting process went on, I realized I might not find the perfect program, the best fit for me, in New England. So why not hop on a plane and visit other schools? I’m glad I did.”

Holmes and her father, Lenny Holmes, visited Iowa State, Dayton, Belmont, Boston College, James Madison and Indiana.

“It was important for her – and her dad – to see a team in practice,” said Lenny Holmes. “We saw Indiana last October and they set the bar pretty high with the interest they’ve shown, the program, and the whole idea of the Big 10 and Hoosier basketball.”
Indiana’s coaching staff made four trips to Maine to check in. Fourth-year head coach Teri Moren came last fall.

Indiana is 17-14 and will host a first-round game in the WNIT on Thursday.

According to the Bloomington (Indiana) Herald-Times, Holmes is Indiana’s third verbal commit from the Class of 2019, joining 6-0 forward Jorie Allen of Bedford, Indiana, and 6-5 center Arielle Wisne of Thornton, Colorado.

Holmes said Indiana’s coaches told her Wisne is expected to redshirt her freshman season.

Holmes announced her commitment with a tweet, with Holmes decked out in an Indiana uniform. The picture, taken in October, is authentic.

And what does she think of IU’s signature candy-striped warm-up pants?

“I love it. I’m a big fan honestly,” she said.

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: SteveCCraig

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