For Gophers' Andre Hollins, it's a confidence game

  • Article by: AMELIA RAYNO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 6, 2013 - 11:19 AM

Andre Hollins is showing a lot more assurance -- and channeling his coach -- this season.

hide

Andre Hollins.

Photo: Richard Sennott, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Attributing a player's growth to "confidence" is so cliché-ridden and overused that it's easily dismissed.

In the case of Gophers point guard Andre Hollins, however, confidence might be the only explanation for his quantum leap from wobbly freshman to NIT breakout to legitimate leader as a sophomore.

Besides, Hollins' self-belief is only part of the picture. There's also the confidence of notoriously hands-on coach Tubby Smith, who has handed his young guard a long leash heading into the Gophers' second Big Ten game, against Northwestern on Sunday.

Given the freedom, the Memphis native has excelled, leading the team with a new efficiency and precision.

"He knows the plays extremely well, and I have the confidence that he'll call the game," Smith said. "Because he's doing a good job."

That conviction from Smith started last season, when Hollins ramped up his play in the postseason -- and Smith gave him more and more autonomy.

Then, in the third round of the NIT at Middle Tennessee State, Hollins was in the huddle and called for the "fist" -- a play designed to get the point guard an early layup and then a jump-shot look before any other options are looked at -- just as Smith was calling for something else. But Smith quickly shook off his own call, raising a fist in support of Hollins' choice: a self-veto made even more impressive by the fact that the guard was calling the play for himself.

"He's starting to trust me," the 6-1, 200-pound Hollins said. "I'm starting to understand the game more, and understand what he wants to run and understanding what needs to be called at the time, the way the defense is playing us."

This season, that trend has continued, with Hollins talking regularly with Smith about the way the coach wants the offense to run in certain situations. With the guard actively working on mirroring Smith's approach, the coach is more willing to let him operate on his own terms in games.

"The point guard is the coach on the floor, basically," Hollins said. "I talk to him a lot, try to understand what he wants and what we need to do as a team. So I'm just trying to relate that over to the game, make the right calls."

As a result, Hollins sees the court more clearly, makes better and quicker decisions and anticipates defenses in a way he couldn't early last season, when Smith directed the guard more specifically and constantly. In last season's league opener, Hollins played only 16 minutes. This season, the sophomore played 31 and helped hold Michigan State guard Keith Appling, scoreless over the last 10:38 while finishing with 22 points and six assists.

"He's learned fast," teammate Rodney Williams said. "He's been a real good leader for us, and that's what we're going to need in order to be successful in this league."

Hollins shouldn't have quite as imposing a challenge against Northwestern's Alex Marcotullio, but in the Big Ten, no assignment is easy. No matter: Better competition gets Hollins' blood flowing, he has said. The confidence that now courses through him as naturally as the jitters did a year ago, the trust bestowed by Smith that helped lead to it, none of that has come by accident.

"I still have a lot of work to do," Hollins said, noting his three unforced turnovers in the Michigan State game. "But it's something to work on. It's always a day to get better, so I'm trying to get better every day."

  • related content

  • Rayno: Why Tubby Smith seems more relaxed than ever

    Sunday January 6, 2013

    By all accounts, Smith genuinely likes this team. Not only does he trust their athletic and on-court ability, but he believes in them as human beings

  • Preview: Northwestern at Gophers

    Sunday January 6, 2013

    The No. 9-ranked Gophers are coming off a big victory over Michigan State; Northwestern is coming off a lopsided loss to Michigan.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Kansas City - J. Guthrie 7:07 PM
San Francisco - T. Hudson
San Diego 21 FINAL
Denver 35
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
Dallas 6:00 PM
Orlando
New York 6:30 PM
Toronto
San Antonio 7:00 PM
Houston
Miami 7:00 PM
Memphis
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Chicago
Phoenix 8:00 PM
Utah
Sacramento 9:00 PM
LA Lakers
Denver 9:30 PM
Golden State
Portland 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Dallas 6:00 PM
New Jersey
Tampa Bay 7:00 PM
Winnipeg
Vancouver 8:00 PM
Colorado
Carolina 8:30 PM
Edmonton
Columbus 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Connecticut 21 FINAL
(18) East Carolina 31
Miami-Florida 30 FINAL
Virginia Tech 6
So Florida 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Louisville
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Houston 7:00 PM
Chicago
Montreal 5:30 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8:30 PM
Calgary
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pmX30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 amX24-17
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 amX39-38
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who wins and loses in football this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close