Kammeon Holsey trying to harness game

No ACC player has made more shots more efficiently this season than Georgia Tech forward Kammeon Holsey. However, only a handful of players turn the ball over more often than Holsey.

The Yellow Jackets’ fluctuation and room for progress can be found neatly in Holsey, an energetic sophomore power forward. “If he can reduce his turnovers, you’ve got something really good,” Tech assistant coach Billy Schmidt said.

The Jackets could use something really good from Holsey on Wednesday night, when they visit Wake Forest in search of their third ACC win. With backup center Nate Hicks out with mononucleosis, Tech will need as many productive minutes out of Holsey as he can give.

In their previous game, a loss to N.C. State on Thursday, Holsey led all scorers with 17 points, but he also turned the ball over four times and committed four fouls.

“He’s still a baby out there sometimes,” said coach Brian Gregory, referring to Holsey’s inexperience.

Regardless, Holsey is third on the team in scoring at 8.9 points per game. He averaged 3.4 points last season, mostly off the bench. He makes 60.7 percent of his shots, which entering Tuesday’s games would be first in the ACC if he averaged the five made field goals necessary to be ranked. (Holsey averages 3.8 field goals per game.)

Nearly all of Holsey’s points come from post moves near the basket or putbacks. His most useful move might be his jump hook off a dribble into the lane.

“That comes from a lot of repetition, I guess just being aggressive and taking what the defense gives you,” Holsey said.

Aggression is not a problem with Holsey, which is in part why there are only four players in the ACC with more than 100 minutes played who have a higher ratio of turnovers-per-40 minutes. Holsey’s rate is 4.1. That, along with his rate of 5.6 fouls per 40 minutes, helps explain why he averages only 22.4 minutes per game despite having started every game.

Holsey said the turnovers sometimes result from feeling rushed on the court, a problem that perhaps only more playing time can solve. “Just [make] better decisions,” he said. “Don’t try to force it in.”

Coaches are hopeful for Holsey, though, who is one of the team’s better defenders and whose offensive game has improved considerably since last season. He caught Gregory’s attention last spring with his attempts to participate in workouts although doctors and trainers hadn’t cleared him from the lingering effects of a torn right ACL.

Holsey is pain-free from the injury, suffered in August 2009, another reason that he has progressed. Gregory is counting on more development over the offseason. On Tuesday, he envisioned a future frontcourt of Daniel Miller, Julian Royal, Holsey, Hicks and signee Robert Carter, a 6-foot-8 forward from Shiloh High, that is an area of strength for the Jackets.

Holsey can trace his drive to his upbringing in Sparta, a small Middle Georgia town. He remembers doing a lot of running and chores, such as chopping wood. Once, he and his twin brother Garreon were roused out of bed at 2 a.m. to run sprints in the yard as atonement for misbehavior.

“You have to work hard,” said Holsey, recalling the message of his father, Gary Hill. “Nothing comes easy.”