You might say Atoka High School senior Adonis Holiman was born to play basketball.
His father, Will Holiman Jr., has coached him and his siblings his whole life, while his grandfather, Will Sr., has volunteered as an assistant on his son’s bench.
Adonis’ brother, Adante’, was McAlester High School’s all-time leading scorer and a four-star prospect before signing to play at the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley in 2022. He currently starts at point guard for the University of Texas-San Antonio. From Te’, Adonis gets his ball-handling skills. He always picks up on something new when Te’ comes home for the weekend.
Their sister, Jayda, won a state title at McAlester and signed to play at UTRGV last year. That’s where Adonis’ defensive skills came from.
“We’re all very close, even when it’s just us, we’re going to make sure we have a good time,” Adonis said. “On the court, we compete like we don’t even know each other and it makes us better, because we can all hoop.”
Thursday, Adonis became the third Holiman sibling to sign on with a Division I basketball team. The 5-foot-9-inch guard from southeastern Oklahoma will play at Texas A&M-Commerce.
“Coach [Jaret von Rosenberg] is a really loyal guy. He made it clear I didn’t get the offer from my brother,” Adonis said. “He and the other guys from the coaching staff were some of the only ones that came to watch my games during the live period. He keeps it real with everything. He had no problems with me committing as early as I did.”
It was April 11, 2022, a couple months after Adonis’ last game of his sophomore year at McAlester, when he made the decision. Von Rosenberg sat court-side for each of the Tulsa Hawks’ live period games at an Indianapolis tournament and was keen to Adonis’ mature talents.
“[Von Rosenberg] could’ve been watching someone else play, and after that, I knew [Commerce] was where I wanted to be,” Adonis said. “I talked to my dad about it first, and he told me it was my decision and I should go where I’m wanted, and I was wanted there. . . I talked to Te’ about it, and he old me it was smart and I shouldn’t waste any time, so I could focus on getting better and getting it out the way.”
Adonis pledged his commitment that day in Indianapolis and, in a miraculous display of loyalty amid a dubious era of college basketball recruiting, saw that commitment to fruition.
Three years, three siblings, three Division I signings for the Holiman family — Zero above 6 feet tall. You might say the Holimans conquered an obstacle that would have turned others away. In humble McAlester, Oklahoma, a family continually defies the odds, and the latest from the clan wants his future college fan base to know he’s in this thing for the long haul.
“I’m a better player than people think I am,” Holiman said. “I’m willing to do whatever to win and make the program.”
This year, Adonis will do something else neither of his siblings did before him: play at a new school for a new coach. Holiman transferred to Atoka High School after spending most of his junior year sidelined with an injury at McAlester. Will Jr. will be a spectator to his son’s athletic career for the first time.
“It was a good experience, because [my dad] taught me everything and all the responsibilities of being a point guard. Everything is your fault and that’s how it’s gonna be in college, too, as a point guard,” Adonis said. “It was challenging because you’re the coach’s kid and everyone has certain expectations for me more than they have for other kids. I had to perform every game or people would say I’m just playing because my dad’s the coach, but that was never the case.”
“Of course, we both would have liked to finish his journey of high school basketball out together like all his siblings,” Will said. “I’m picky about mine, and [Atoka head coach Taggart Lockhart] being a former elite high school player and played DI ball at University of Arkansas-Little Rock, and with him understanding the importance of how much work we put in as a family was huge. . . I wouldn’t have him playing for any other coach or school.”
Adonis has something to him neither Te’ nor Jayda had. For one, he has the sum third-person experience of their mistakes and the lessons yielded from them, but that’s not it. Adonis has played in the shadow of his own name for all of his career.
His first two years of high school, he was the little brother of the top recruit in the state. Then, his sister guided the girl’s team to basketball glory in winning a title. He was always second fiddle.
In 2024, it’s Adonis Holiman’s time.