NBA Draft Analyst Krysten Peek sits down with 6-foot-8 wing Ron Holland ahead of his season with the G League Ignite. Holland discusses his decision to join the Ignite, what he’s working on to prepare for the NBA and what separates him from other prospects projected at the top of the 2024 NBA Draft.
KRYSTEN PEEK: I’m Krysten Peek here with Ron Holland for the G League Ignite. It’s a preseason exhibition game. You guys are playing the Perth Wildcats. Ron, I mean, it’s September, but how excited are you to get on the court and compete?
RON HOLLAND: I’m very excited. You know, with this group, we got in a little earlier than most G League teams that had been here. We got a good feel for everything that we’re about to face tomorrow. And this rest of the season, I know the coaches are doing a great job preparing us. And tomorrow’s going to be a great day of action.
KRYSTEN PEEK: I mean, you choosing the Ignite– I mean, you were previously committed to Texas. What was it about this program and about preparing you for the NBA that made you make this decision?
RON HOLLAND: Well, like you said, it was just preparing me for the NBA. And it’s not really just on the court thing, it’s off and on the court. Really, they just have the right– they have the blueprint to– they can give me the– like I said, they got the blueprint for showing me what I need to do on and off the court to have a successful career and accomplish my dreams.
KRYSTEN PEEK: You’re playing NBA rules, NBA spacing. You guys got a bunch of vets. But then you also have eight guys that are draft eligible as well.
How has the chemistry been in practice? Because I mean, there is that sort of mentality of, like, you guys are learning from your teammates as well.
RON HOLLAND: I feel like the chemistry’s been amazing. Like you said, it’s a whole new group of guys. We got young players, old players. But it’s there. Like you said, the chemistry, it’s been amazing. We’ve been getting along well on and off the court. We’re getting to know each other really well and getting to know what each other likes to do. And, like, that plays a big part of what y’all are about to see tomorrow.
KRYSTEN PEEK: I mean, you are such a dog on the court. I feel like you’re very explosive. There’s a lot of things that come natural to you in your game.
But what has been your focus? Like what are you focusing on this season before you hit the NBA to add to your game?
RON HOLLAND: My focus is really just sharpening up details, with the consistency and everything– the ball handling, shooting, defense, everything. Like, what I’m trying to be in the league is, I want to be able to guard the best player.
And I also want to– I just want to make my team better. If that’s me scoring, if that’s me getting off the ball, me guarding the best player on the floor, me making sure that the other team doesn’t score, I’m here to do what the coach needs me to do, and make sure my team get the win.
KRYSTEN PEEK: I mean, when you look at next year’s draft, I mean, no one knows what’s going to happen. There is no clear-cut number one, right, like there was last year with Victor and Scoot and Brandon kind of in that top three. It’s a wide open race.
And one of your teammates, Matas Buzelis, is another projected top pick along with you. But what separates you from him? And how has it been in practice? Kind of iron sharpens iron, you guys going up against each other.
RON HOLLAND: I feel like– like you said, we just– iron sharpens iron. We got projected one and two picks in the draft. Every day in practice, me and him got something understood before we start anything, because I knew him kind of before we got out here. It’s like, we can make this happen as long as somebody go one and two. But it needs to be us.
And we in practice like, we fighting for that number one spot, for sure. But for me and him, it’s like, we need– if we don’t go one and two, we ain’t do our job. And that’s what– I feel like we’re doing everything, what it takes. We going to have our days where it’s going to be pretty bad. And we’re going to have learning curves.
But like I said, the vets are here for– everybody’s here for each other. And we’re playing for each other, coaches included.
KRYSTEN PEEK: Other than positionally, I mean, he’s the four. He’s more of a forward.
RON HOLLAND: Yeah.
KRYSTEN PEEK: But what separates you from him as a player?
RON HOLLAND: I’d say I’m extremely aggressive, from– like, from knowing Matas, he’s a great basketball player. He knows everything. But it’s like, I just feel like, like you said, I got the dog. Like, I’m willing to make those 50/50 plays that really, most people don’t like to make.
KRYSTEN PEEK: When did that mentality start for you? Because like I said, I was talking to a couple of your teammates, and they said you’re a dog on the court, and not everybody has that. But when did that mentality start for you? At what age?
RON HOLLAND: I feel like it started right when I started playing sports, not really just basketball. I played football. I ran track. I just– I just want to win everything.
I’ve been competitive. I grew– I had a competitive family. I grew up around my competitive uncles. They just taught me that, like, losing is not an option.
KRYSTEN PEEK: Yeah. And with NBA scouts, they’re going to be here this week in the pair of games, but also throughout the season. What are you hoping to show them in terms of how you’ve progressed your game from the last time they saw you?
RON HOLLAND: I’m hoping to show them that they can see that I’ve been in the gym working on my overall game. Like, I’m showing that I’m trying to go to the league, and whatever y’all need me to do, like, I can do it. The more things you can do, the more valuable you are. And I’m trying to show them that.
KRYSTEN PEEK: At McDonald’s and Hoop Summit, I feel like you separated yourself not only in the sense where it’s like, I’m a top player in this class, this high school class, but also, I’m a top player in maybe the draft next year. So knowing how well you played, what sort of confidence did that give you coming into this season?
RON HOLLAND: It gave me a lot of confidence. But, like, I’m not one to really lose confidence. I’ll be in the gym every day. Like, I work too hard for me to just get down on myself, really.
Now, it’s going to be times where I’m not making shots, or I’m losing the ball, I’m turning the ball over or something. But if it’s something that’s a little tweak, I can fix. But other than that, like, I know I be in the gym too much.
And I know, like– at the end of the day, I know how life work. And adversity is a thing. And it hits. And it’s all about bounce back.
I feel like that’s one thing– the one thing that the coaches keep pointing this year is bounce back, and how life is– things that– you can do everything right, and things are still going to go wrong. You just got to figure out a way to bounce back.
KRYSTEN PEEK: Who do you watch a lot of at the NBA level to try to add to your game?
RON HOLLAND: I say Mikal Bridges. And I say him because he just became, like, one of them dudes. But the past years he was in the league, his job was to guard the best player on the floor. And his shots, when his other guys just need a break, or tired, or– like, you know what I’m saying, he played an amazing job in his role.
So he got the stop. And it’s like, his job is to make sure the other team doesn’t score the ball. And when the team needs him on offense, he’s there.
KRYSTEN PEEK: All right. Well, Ron, thank you so much for the time. And good luck this week and the rest of the season.
RON HOLLAND: Yes, Ma’am.