Holiman welcomes players into home for training

COREY STOLZENBACH | Staff PhotoMcAlester boys basketball coach Will Holiman welcomes former players such as Tristan Starks (right) into his home for a few days to improve on their game. Starks is set to play basketball at Northern Oklahoma College-Tonkawa. 

Will Holiman left Texas to move back home to McAlester earlier this decade, but he never completely left his former players.

Tristan Starks is an example of that. Starks played for Texas Takeover, an AAU basketball team, under the tutelage of the Buffaloes boys basketball coach for two seasons. He arrived in town to stay at the Holiman household on Wednesday, and left Sunday. It’s an open door policy the 1998 McAlester graduate has had since moving back.

Starks worked on different things such as conditioning, ball handling, shooting and footwork before he is scheduled to report Aug. 15 to play for Donnie Jackson at Northern Oklahoma College-Tonkawa. His dream is to play at the NCAA Division I level, and hopes Tonkawa will help with that.

“Other than my dad (Darrell), he was my first coach,” Starks said of Holiman. “He taught me almost everything I know, IQ wise.”

Holiman is appreciative of his wife, Angie, for understanding his profession. The McAlester coach is willing to help anybody. He’s kept players from places such as Central, Tulsa Union and Oklahoma City. 

“I pretty much help everybody, and I think that really attracts the kids,” Holiman said. “They can get honest, genuine help from somebody that cares, other than their basketball career, cares about their well being.” 

He called Starks “a good kid” and surround his sons, Adante and Adonis, with good kids. The Holiman children have known Starks personally since they were younger, and their father said it’s big for them to have someone like Starks to look up to since he’s about to experience a dream to play college basketball.

They don’t mind having to share their home while others get more work in, and make sure to be hospitable to any house guests.

“We just make sure to have everything situated, like blankets and stuff and all that, welcome them to the house,” Adante Holiman said. “If they need anything, they can count on us to get it for them.”

Starks helped Mansfield Timberview, a school in Arlington, win the Class 5A state championship in 2019. He was a co-captain on the team, and said Coach Holiman called college coaches to watch Starks play this year. 

“He loves what he does,” Starks said. “He loves helping others. You can’t go wrong with that.”

Contact Corey Stolzenbach at cstolzenbach@mcalesternews.com