Who are you Austin Hollins? Feldhaus breaks down Maccabi Tel Aviv’s new swingman

Jun 27, 2022 | Holyland Hoops

Austin Hollins joined Maccabi Tel Aviv on a two-year contract and bolstered the new backcourt in Yad Eliyahu. The 30-years old American played the prior three seasons in the EuroLeague and comes off a treble with Crvena Zvezda (Red Star) in Serbia.

“I am very excited about the vision of the coach and the organization,” Hollins said. “I can’t wait to be a part of the history and tradition of the club”.

“We are very happy to add Austin Hollins to the squad,” said coach Oded Katash. “He is a guard with good character, a good teammate in the locker room, an excellent guard and a player who can play several positions. He will be able to provide us with solutions in a variety of situations and line-ups on the court.”

The 6”4 guard’s father, Lionel, was played 10 years in the NBA, won the 1977 championship with the Portland Trailblazers and was chosen to the All-Star game in 1978. In his post playing career was a head coach with the Brooklyn Nets and Memphis Grizzlies while also serving as an assistant on a number of clubs in the NBA.

Naturally, Austin followed in his father footsteps and became a player himself as he starred in high school which drew the attention of several big programs and eventually committed to the University of Minnesota. There, he played 4 years and was chosen as the MVP of the NIT in his senior year.
After not being selected in the NBA Draft, the swingman started his professional career in France’s second division and later moved to Finland before landing in Germany. It was there that Hollins made his breakthrough, posting 12.5 points and 2.7 per game and winning the local dunk contest. In July of 2019, he departed for the EuroLeague newcomers, Zenit St. Petersburg.

In Russia, Hollins fit in by scoring 10.4 points, grabbing 2.1 rebounds to go along with 1.4 steals per game. He stayed for a second season and helped Zenit to a historical playoff berth and last year moved to Belgrade.

With Red Star, the guard/forward won three titles: the Serbian championship and cup to go along with the ABA League championship. In domestic play, Hollins delivered 8.9 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game, while in the EuroLeague he scored 8.1 points, 1.9 rebounds and a steal on average.

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Austin Hollins’ path is actually kind of a Cinderella story as he spent his first three professional seasons on a much lower level than EuroLeague.

He started his pro career in Denain in the second division of France, where he played two season. What is actually funny is that quite a number of players made their way to the EuroLeague from there. Hollins played in Denain alongside William Howard, Yakuba Ouattara and Isaia Cordinier who might all play in the EuroLeague in the upcoming season.

It took quite long for teams to recognize Austin Hollins on the EuroLeague level. He was playing in Finland after his two-year stint in the second division in France and then moved to Gießen, Germany, in 2015. In Gießen, he was actually more of solid role player as a shooter and defender. He did not get a lot recognition in the BBL. Gießen had a small playoff chance after a rough start but their season ended with a losing streak. I do not even know if Gießen wanted to keep him especially as he then moved to Vechta, who were coming up from the second division.

Austin Hollins – Photo Credit: Euroleague.net

He would have his break-out season in Vechta under head coach Pedro Calles (later Hamburg and now Oldenburg). Calles really featured Hollins’ shooting ability and his athleticism. Vechta played full court defense and focused a lot on transition play, off-screen plays in half court and a high volume of 3-pointers in general. Hollins really thrived in those off-screen actions as he is a good shooter and his athleticism also helped him to find opportunities to cut and there even finish on alley-oops often times. He had great chemistry with T. J. Bray, who had a big role as a point forward for that team back then.

Hollins was one of the shooting stars of the BBL in that 2018-2019 season. He scored 16.4 points per game and even averaged 22.8 points when they eliminated Bamberg in the quarterfinals. What makes the story even funnier is that he was rather disappointing in preseason, where Vechta lost against a team from the second division among others. But that season turned out as a Cinderella story for both Vechta as a team and Austin Hollins individually.

With St. Petersburg, he proved to be one of the better 3-and-D players as well. His shot is quite streaky but he can really turn hot on some days. For Red Star in the Euroleague this past season he was not the perfect fit for that team.

Red Star already had some great defenders and actually lacked playmaking. I think it was not a good fit for both sides. Red Star did not have the kind of ball movement to get Hollins rolling and he is not the player who they needed to initiate more ball movement on offense.

Austin Hollins – Photo Credit: Euroleague.net

I think that Maccabi used his season in Belgrade as an opportunity to sign him. I think that especially with his first season with St. Petersburg, he really put his name on the map in the EuroLeague.

Hollins is a player with a clearly defined skillset. He is a good defender at the wing. He plays with a lot energy, anticipates well and is very athletic. He can even be switched on bigs or point guards on occasions. Offensively, he is very reliant on his 3-point shot and occasionally uses his athleticism for dunks in transition or off cuts. His main weaknesses are his ball handling and his consistency. He is not a pick-and-roll player and cannot really create for others. Moreover, his shot is quite streaky and he tends to fall in a hole on occasions.

All in all, Austin Hollins can be a very solid complementary player with his 3-and-D skillset. I think it would also be beneficial if Oded Katash implements a quick play style as Hollins is really good at finding and making 3s as well as athletic plays in transition. He is not the first or second option of a EuroLeague team in my opinion but he can complement teams very well.

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