Local standout finds home at USF

The men’s basketball team filled its 13th and final scholarship spot at the start of the spring semester with the addition of Florida State University transfer Aaron Holmes.

Although Holmes, a St. Petersburg native, won’t be eligible to play until next December, he began practicing with the Bulls this week as they prepared for their Big East home opener tonight against Louisville.

“I was excited to get out here with the guys,” Holmes said after practice Tuesday. “I was just trying to feel my way around, trying to get to know all the players. We’ve got a big game coming up, so I was just trying to help out as much as I can on the scout team today.”

Holmes graduated from St. Petersburg Catholic High School in 2006 as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 2,748 points. Holmes scored in the double digits every game during his senior year when he was runner-up for Mr. Basketball honors for Florida.

Holmes left a 12-4 Seminoles team to play for USF, which is 1-17 in Big East games in two years, but he’s glad to be closer to his family in St. Petersburg, and he’s hopeful the Bulls will make a run in the Big East.

“I think it’s going to turn out to be the best for me – local (and my) family and friends all in town – I’m just excited to be here,” Holmes said. “I know they’ve been having struggles lately, but I really feel they’re going to be successful in the up-and-coming years.”

If all the Bulls’ guards are healthy at the start of next season, Holmes will compete for playing time with four other scholarship guards – Chris Howard, Solomon Bozeman, Jesus Verdejo and Dante Curry- but coach Robert McCullum sees this as a positive.

“There’s nothing that brings out the best in you like competition,” McCullum said. “When you look at all the injuries, setbacks and transfers that we’ve had, having six or seven guys at three positions is the least of our concerns.”