Ranking the Contenders: DaRon Holmes
Arizona doesn't typically produce elite basketball prospects year in and year out, but that isn't true of the 2021 class thanks to four-star DaRon Holmes.
A top-30 prospect in the Rivals150, Holmes has begun to turn his talent and upside into everyday production. That has translated into increased recruiting attention as his senior year approaches.
There is no clear-cut favorite and a commitment timeline hasn't been established, but a specific group of programs do appear to have separated themselves from the pack.
Rivals.com Basketball Analyst Corey Evans ranks the contenders for Holmes' commitment.
Starting Five: Toughest-to-read recruitments in class of 2021
2022 Rankings: Top 75
Arizona will say goodbye to Ira Lee after the season and would love to not have to look too far to replace the four-year contributor in Tucson. Sure, Holmes will be taking his talents to Florida's Montverde Academy for his senior season, but Sean Miller had no issues bringing Josh Green back home after Green completed his own prep career in the Sunshine State. Holmes has been one of Miller's targets over the years and Arizona has been one of the best programs in America at keeping homegrown talent in-state.
The Jayhawks just missed on Kendall Brown, which only makes Holmes that much more of a priority. While Brown is more of a perimeter-based prospect and Holmes forward-oriented, they both complete similar tasks on the playing floor.
Might the top-30 prospect leaving his home state for his senior year give others an advantage over the in-state programs? Possibly. Holmes is not a dire need for Kansas but, with potential early NBA departures a consistent theme every spring in Lawrence, someone of his abilities would be gladly welcomed by Bill Self and his staff.
The Trojans could lose a number of their top producers along the frontline after the season and while it will not be a rebuild, USC will need to strike in the star department category if it wants to remain in the picture for future Pac-12 titles. Holmes would definitely fill that role.
Andy Enfield and his staff did a good job earlier in the spring landing three 2021 prospects that give the Trojans depth moving ahead, but Holmes remains a must in solidifying their soon-to-be frontcourt issues. USC was one of the first to really prioritize the Arizona native and while they need to make up ground, they do remain under heavy consideration.
Stan Johnson, who was Marquette's primary recruiter for Holmes, left for the head coaching position at Loyola-Marymount earlier this offseason, but the Golden Eagles have remained in the fight for the four-star prospect and have a unique selling point compared to all others. Steve Wojciechowski has a major need for a hybrid forward after the season, which would be the ideal role for someone like Holmes. Getting him to buy into being that guy for Marquette may need some work, but with Jamal Cain set to graduate and an up-and-down system to sell, the Golden Eagles may have a shot.
5. NOTRE DAME
Some may question why Notre Dame is on this list, but the Irish have an easier time recruiting Florida compared to Arizona and Holmes' father graduated from ND. The Irish will lose just two to graduation after the season, both coming along its frontline, and while they have a lot of work to do, their connection to Holmes could lead to greater traction in his recruitment if he holds off from making a quick decision.
After hiring Dave Patrick earlier this month, Arkansas has offered several West Coast seniors, including Holmes. The Hawgs are playing catch-up in Holmes' recruitment, but Patrick does bring an established relationship with Holmes to Fayetteville. Arkansas will need to replace a number of its frontcourt talents after the season, which should give Eric Musselman a greater selling point when it comes to luring Holmes to the SEC.