Hottest Recruit in Tennessee

Caleb Hollander.  A name unknown outside Nashville, perhaps unknown by some hoopers in Nashville, until April of this spring.

The homeschooled slick-shooting wing thrived in anonymity the last two years, competing with the Nashville Central Christian Warriors High School squad.

Now Caleb Hollander is the hottest recruit in the entire state.

“I have to narrow my list down,” said Hollander, who is under the weather after an exhausting, productive month on the road.  “I got seven offers in (the last) two/three days.   Charlotte, UTEP, Belmont, Austin Peay, Bowling Green, and Santa Clara.”

New schools of interest emerged daily throughout the hectic July.  Tales of sparkling performances emanated daily from Team CB games.  He dumped in double digits in South Carolina early July.  Then Caleb and Grayson Murphy (Independence High School) were selected Top 15 Performers at Best of the South (BOTS).

Hollander averaged 16+ ppg and 9+ rpg in Atlanta.  The capper came this recent Sunday in Kansas City.

“He averaged over 22 points in (the) KC Showcase Classic last week, including 37 points against Big 10 & SEC-offered 6’10 Jack Nunge in front a ton of HCs there to watch Nunge kid,” said family friend Tim Ross.  “Caleb was 8-9 from three, and only missed three baskets the entire game.”

Team CB got the win, upsetting Pocket City by four points.

The exceptional shooter reminds of Doug McDermott.  Tall for his position, Hollander can shoot from anywhere, but also put it on the floor.  He is not a face-up four in the modern sense because Hollander slashes like a big wing.  More nimble than your face-up four, he has molded himself into a attack-minded combo forward.

Grinding in Silence

Last winter Caleb reclassified to the class of 2017 because, “I wanted to develop more as a person and more as a player.  It helped me get through some personal things that were going on with my life.  My uncle really helped.  Mr. Ross (Tim) really helped.  He is not technically my uncle, but a really close family friend.”

Though Hollander reclassed, or decided to, last September, Lipscomb was the lone offer for month after month.

“I went to Utah Camp and played really well,” said Hollander.  “That is where I blew up.  I proved I could play against good competition.”

The promise in Caleb’s game and special mixture of size and agility was there for years.  But outside of Nashville nobody really watched him play.  In the modern age of hyper-promotion few witnessed his growth firsthand. caught him against Ensworth High School (Jordan Bone) in winter of 2014-2015.  Though he looked like a galoot rebounding errant shots during warmups, the young man carved up a capable defense once the game began.  Belmont spotted him by chance too.

Belmont Visit

“They were the first to start recruiting me,” said Hollander.  “When I was a freshman they saw me play against Rob Marberry at FRA, cause they were recruiting him at that time.”

The Bruins are not just another team on a list of many.  Neither is Austin Peay, who Hollander dropped by early June.

“I am probably going to visit both of them,” said Hollander.  “I am visiting Belmont next Thursday.  I will probably schedule a visit to visit Austin Peay the week after that.”

Belmont is a familiar atmosphere.

“I have been to campus so many times over the past 3/4 years,” said Hollander.  “They just want to give me a detailed tour of it.”

Belmont will be the next school to host Caleb.  There will be more and according to Hollander he hasn’t “even gotten close to deciding anything.”

Official visits are likely to occur in September.

There are few feelings greater than accomplishing your dreams through hard work.

“It is a great feeling, of course,” said Hollander.  “After that stupid little injury, I gained a little weight.  I was able to play, but I wasn’t able to do any serious workouts.  Coming back I hit a point where I had to decide, ‘Do I want to play in college, or what do I want to do?’  I just started working out all the time.  I lost 15 pounds from the end of March to now.  It is good for my family to see everything that we have been through that it is kinda just working out.”

In the last year  faced adversity, and decided upon the direction for his life.  Caleb found out who he was.  Now you know him too.

More to Come

The difficulty with cutting your list for a recruit like Caleb Hollander is more teams are sure to join in the weeks and months to come.  Caleb could conceivably cut to 5 teams, and then two more intriguing teams could offer tomorrow.

Still, picking a college can be confusing and complex without joining a team, selecting new life leaders.  And picking one perfect situation from a list of 10 is much harder than comparing a handful.

Several mountain time zone teams continue to hover, doing the recruiting dance.

“Utah State is very interested,” said Hollander.  “Utah is very interested, as well.  I got a call from TCU today saying they are very interested.  Ole  Miss called Tim about me.  They said they really liked me.”

The next few days Caleb will continue to recover, his body recovering from the most prolific month of his young life.  As he rests the expanding offer list and phone records reflect the achievements already conquered.

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