Adante Holiman (right) is entering his freshman year of high school at Lakewood Christian school. Since seventh grade, he has playing on varsity under his father, head coach Will Holiman (left).

Adante Holiman has some pretty good genetics.

The freshman guard at Lakewood Christian is the son of 1998 McAlester graduate and Lakewood Christian head basketball coach Will Holiman, and Angie Holiman, a 2002 McAlester graduate and former softball player.

Coach Holiman was an all-state guard for the Buffaloes during his senior season, but said when it comes to basketball, genetics only play a part.

“DNA absolutely matters, but one good thing about basketball, is if you have absolutely no DNA, your work ethic comes into play,” Coach Holiman said. “...Your DNA comes into play in basketball. It helps to be able to run, jump, all that stuff, but it pretty much boils down to how much you work.”

So what does Adante Holiman’s schedule look like? The freshman point guard at Lakewood wakes up 4:30 a.m. every day, and works with weights at 5 a.m. every day before school at his father’s Future Stars Athletics gym on Strong Boulevard. He comes back, and his father trains him. Adante Holiman takes about 300 shots a day.

It’s basically about two things: school and basketball.

In the classroom, he has a 4.0 GPA going into his freshman year and was the eighth grade valedictorian for Lakewood, according to his father.

On the court, he has a leg up on his peers, having played in high school games since he was in seventh grade, which is permissible under the Heartland Christian Athletic Association, to which Lakewood belongs.

During his seventh grade year, he averaged 17.5 points, four assists, 2.1 rebounds and 3.2 steals per game. He turned it up a notch as an eighth-grader, averaging 21.6 points, five assists, four steals and three rebounds per game, earning first-team all-area honors by the McAlester News-Capital in 2018.

As accomplished as he has been on the court, he knows what it’s like to fall short of winning championships. Lakewood lost in the HCAA Class 2A state championship games in 2017 and 2018.

“It is very frustrating,” Adante Holiman said. “I think I sat in my room for like three days and then I finally got back to work because it was very frustrating and heartbreaking losing the state championship twice.”

Adante Holiman played with Lion teammate Rodrick White on Coach Holiman’s Future Stars Athletics AAU 16U/10th grade squad this summer in Orlando, Florida, and finished as a national runner up in that, too. Both Adante Holiman and his father said getting runner up is tiring, but Coach Holiman said being a national runner up is easier to accept because of the level of competition, to which the younger Holiman agreed.

“AAU is way more competitive, a lot more kids,” Adante Holiman said.

AAU is hardly something that has been new to him, having played since he was in second grade against fourth graders down in Texas.

“As I got older, playing up, it gets easier once you get used it because you learn the stuff you have to do and how to get your shots off and stuff like that,” Adante Holiman said.

Coach Holiman said having his son on teams against players two years older than he is meant to both challenge and help the team. It was intended to see where he was at, citing how big of a commitment basketball is. Adante Holiman said his father asked him when he was little if he wanted to play. The younger Holiman agreed, and the rest is history.

“Once I seen that he liked the game and was willing to learn and willing put the work in, it made it a little easier,” Coach Holiman said. “...Him playing up that whole time just helped get us where we are today.”

Indeed, basketball is the name of the game with the Holiman family. Younger brother Adonis Holiman is going into his seventh grade year, and will split some time between junior high and high school games, Coach Holiman said. The family dog, a miniature, is named Dribbles.

“We go watch games, Oklahoma State games, we go to NBA games,” Coach Holiman said. “We like to do a lot of stuff basketball. It’s just kind of who we are.”

With Coach Holiman’s notoriously tough demeanor as a coach, he tends to be admits on his son than he is on the other players, considering Adante Holiman is the coach’s son and he has the facility and its equipment at his disposal.

Coach Holiman said there’s still a lot of work his son needs to do, and if there’s something he’d like to see Adante Holiman work on, it would be being more aggressive as a player.

“He’s a true point guard, so Adante always makes the right basketball play,” he said. “Sometimes, in basketball, you got to be a little bit selfish and take over the game a little quicker and I think he’ll get better and better with age.”

The two of them, along with White, will look to get the Lions over the hump and win a state championship in 2019. Adante Holiman does think Lakewood has a state championship caliber team as he, White and the Lions are a year older and more experienced.

His first game as a high schooler is Nov. 1 at home against Haileyville with four seasons left of the high school game before he hopes to go to college as an NCAA Division I player. Coach Holiman said his son was scheduled to make some unofficial visits to NCAA schools before the season.

“When Adante decides what he wants to do, it will pretty much be his decision,” Coach Holiman said.

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