Ron Holland, No. 2 basketball recruit, joins G League Ignite

Ron Holland needs one dribble from half court for dunk (0:28)

Ron Holland uses one dribble from half court and gets to the rim for the dunk. (0:28)

Ron Holland, the No. 2-ranked senior in boys' high school basketball for the class of 2023, told ESPN he will play for the G League Ignite next season.

Holland decommitted from Texas in late April, although he wasn't released from his letter of intent until recently. Arkansas was perceived as the early favorite if he went the college route, given the Razorbacks were one of his original finalists in early November.

But the G League Ignite path, which has produced the likes of Jalen Green and Scoot Henderson since its inception in 2020, quickly became a legitimate option for Holland, who is No. 6 in ESPN's early 2024 NBA draft rankings.

"This process was not easy," Holland told ESPN. "At times it was scary because at times I had no idea where I would be.

"The G League will help me reach my potential as a basketball player and prepare me for the NBA. To have a long career, I need to prepare my body and improve my skills as I continue to try to win games. They have a program to help develop my body and my game. I know I have to work on being a more consistent shooter, along with my footwork and ball handling, so I can score in space on the perimeter against a set defender."

Holland also developed a strong relationship with Ignite coach Jason Hart.

"When I spoke with head coach Jason Hart, we were on the same page," Holland said. "He knew that winning was important to me, but he also understands that I am willing to work hard to earn everything."

A 6-foot-8 forward from Duncanville (Texas) High School, Holland steadily rose up the rankings last spring and summer before finishing just behind top prospect Isaiah Collier in the final 2023 rankings.

He's one of the best defenders in the class and an elite two-way player who won two gold medals with USA Basketball. Holland started six games at the FIBA U16 Americas in 2021, averaging 19 points.0 and 10.2 rebounds, then started all seven games at the FIBA U17 world championship last summer, averaging 11.1 points and 6.6 rebounds.

Last spring and summer with the Drive Nation grassroots program, Holland averaged 10.0 points and 5.8 rebounds on the Nike EYBL circuit.

Holland solidified his status among the current crop of seniors with stellar showings at the McDonald's All American Game and Nike Hoop Summit this spring. He had 11 points and 6 rebounds at the McDonald's game and then went for 15 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists at the Hoop Summit.

Holland is an NBA-level athlete with great bounce and open-court speed. His defensive presence is currently his top skill. His ability to stop his opponent in one-on-one situations or rotate over and be a help defender is elite. He is also a great switch defender, something the NBA has increasingly coveted. His versatility to stay in front of the ball against smaller and quicker players off the dribble, contest shooters on the perimeter, or play post defense against bigger and stronger forwards is noteworthy.

As an offensive player, Holland knows how to find scoring opportunities by moving without the ball, attacking the offensive glass and running the floor for transition baskets. His determination and effort make him a consistent rebounder. At the McDonald's All American Game, NBA scouts walked away impressed by his in-game performance and jump shot mechanics.

Holland is the second elite 2023 prospect to choose G League Ignite, following fellow top-five senior Matas Buzelis. Versatile wing Dink Pate, a top-30 prospect, also recently announced he was reclassifying into the 2023 class and playing for G League Ignite.

"They won't let me slip up and I won't let them down -- that's a great combination," Holland said. "They have everything in place for me both on and off the court. On my visit, they showed me how they approach their business both on and off the court. They are in the gym with their guys. If you are not a gym rat, it might not be for you. The G League is all about preparation for the NBA with other professional development. It's what I am willing to work for."