BOSTON -- In just his second game at the TD Garden, newly acquired center Ryan Hollins wowed the home crowd with two alley oop dunks from Rajon Rondo that sent him flying above the rim.
The elevations are part of Hollins athleticism. The 7-foot, 230-pound big man is the son of a former track star. Hollins grew up attending track meets and joined the team at John Muir High School in Pasadena, Calif. during his senior year.
I did the triple jump and long jump, he said. Basketball season was over, theres nothing more you can do, and I ended up getting third in the state in triple jump. I was like, wow, I might be pretty good at this.
Hollins attended UCLA as a member of the mens basketball team and competed on the track team as well his freshman year.
I had so much fun doing it, he recalled. It was funny, a couple of people were like, Hes a track guy playing basketball. No, I was a basketball player who just went out (for track). Its just genetics.
Now in his sixth NBA season, Hollins has used his track skills on the court.
When I came back to basketball from that, it just helped out my jumping tremendously, he explained. For a big guy, it helped my coordination because triple jump and long jump, those are little guy-type things or there is coordination to run in those kinds of steps, things like that. As far as jumping, it really does help my vertical. How to run, how to move, thats important for a big guy.
Hollins incorporates high-knee stretches into his pregame warmups to help get his muscles ready.
The biggest thing is, it teaches you how to jump, he said. As basketball players, we just jump high enough to dunk. You jump for track, you drive through your jump. So thats the biggest thing that helped me, muscles and things that you havent used.
As a member of the Celtics, those muscles could be put to use with any split-second lobs Rondo throws his way.