Ryan Hollins played less than three months with the Boston Celtics this season. It was more than enough time for him to know he wants to return to the team again.
Of course, he told CSNNE.com. I would love to be here next season.
The Celtics signed Hollins, 27, as a free agent in late March after he was waived by the Cleveland Cavaliers. He arrived in Boston with recommendations from his new teammates.
Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce had got to know Hollins from offseason workouts and pickup games in California. They spoke of his intensity and passion. Even though the seven-foot center had struggled during his career on the boards, they believed his drive would be a good fit for the Celtics as they neared the playoffs.
I had a chance to spend some time with him this summer, Garnett said shortly after Hollins joined the team. Summertime is the time when youre working on things, but for me, I dont make a lot of friends and I can say that I made one in him now. I like the way the kid approaches the game he wants to be more than good. You see it in his face, you see it in his work ethic. Im a big fan of his. So Im glad hes here and whatever, like any other of the young guys that are here, whatever he wants to know, Im here for him.
The feeling was mutual.
I know the type of players that Paul and Kevin and Ray (Allen) and (Rajon) Rondo are and how they want to win, said Hollins. Going against those guys on the other side, Id always felt like I was a fit for this team and the way that Doc (Rivers) coaches and the way that players play over here. I always felt that way. It made an easy transition for myself.
Hollins gave the Celtics another big body in a front court that had been depleted by injuries throughout season. The former track star provided an athletic presence with his ability to run the floor and get out in transition. He averaged 1.5 points and 1.6 rebounds in 10.0 minutes per game for the Celtics during the playoffs.
Often critiqued for his rebounding skills, Hollins studied Garnetts approach to attacking the boards during his short time with the Celtics and plans to incorporate it into his offseason workouts. He will carry his veteran teammates intense work ethic with him as well.
They pushed me incredibly hard, he said. Its not just being hard and yelling -- its by example. The small things, talking here and there, its rubbed off.
He added, Im dedicated. Ive always taken my job seriously and loved the game, but the dedication (on the Celtics), eat sleep drink basketball, every day, every day, every day.
The Celtics will have to fill gaps down low as they build their roster for next season. All three of their centers from the 2012 playoffs -- Garnett, Hollins, and Greg Stiemsma -- are free agents.
Hollins hopes the three months he spent with the team was only the beginning of a longer stay in Boston.
I just learned so much, said Hollins. I learn every day. I learned more in the past three or four months here than, I want to say, my whole NBA career. I dont want to say Im taking anything my coaches have ever given me for granted, but even at this stage in my career, Ive learned so much.