Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Mountaineers staff excited about Bria Holmes

When Hillhouse star Bria Holmes committed to West Virginia back in September, more than a few people in Holmes' circle of friends, supporters and advisors credited Mountaineers' associate head coach George Porcha' work recruiting Holmes for helping her land in West Virginia.

NCAA regulations won't allow coaches to talk about recruits until they sign their letters of intent so I wasn't able to talk to Porcha when Holmes committed. I took the chance after the Providence/Syracuse game in the Big East tournament to sit down with Porcha and get his take on what he and his fellow West Virginia coaches think about Holmes.

"Bria's potential is unlimited," Porcha said. "She is 6-2 and very versatile. We think she can play anywhere from the 1 (point guard) to the 4 (power forward). She has an excellent handle, she can shot the ball and she is a phenomenal passing which a lot of people don't realize not having seen her play. When you have a lot of weapons around her, she is going to flourish even more. We feel like with us having everybody returning and you add somebody who can pass at 6-2 the way she does, it just gives us something we haven't had at West Virginia before. We are excited because she brings so much to the table."

Holmes has won a state title in each of her first three years at Hillhouse and had 33 points in a 64-57 win over Norwalk in the second round of the Class LL tournament on Thursday. Holmes and the Academics will play city rival Career in the Class LL quarterfinals on Monday. Holmes' winning background appealed to West Virginia coach Mike Carey and his staff.

"That is big with Coach Carey," Porcha said. "He really looks for kids who have won and have been successful at the high school level because it translates. We have numerous kids on our current roster who have won state titles and there are numerous girls in Bria's class who expect when they come in. Coach Carey doesn't believe in rebuilding, he likes to reload. That is where he has the program at and he has done a phenomenal job in the 11 years that he has been there. Kids like Bria Holmes have seen what he has built at West Virginia and they want to be a part of that."

West Virginia beat out a host of schools including Rutgers to land Holmes, the first Connecticut player invited to play in the girls' McDonald's All-American game.

"I believe Bria and her family did their due diligence," Porcha said. "She was a kid who was highly recruiting since she was in eighth grade and once she got a chance to sit down and meet our head coach she saw how sincere he was, she saw how coach Carey was going to push her and get the best out of her. She felt like over four years with him she'd be able to improve and really get to the next level. She feels like Coach Carey can help her develop and help her get there.

That is a kid, she didn't want to sit out (the first round state tournament game) from what I heard. She was antsy and made her mom hurry up and get her to the doctor and wanted to get cleared but that is what you love about her. She is competitive, she wants to play. She is the type of kid who if she is not on the court she is letting her school down, she is letting her city down. She has a lot of pride in Hillhouse, she has a lot of pride in her teammates, she has a lot of pride in the city of New Haven and you want that."

Porcha has ties to the New Haven area as he was a defensive back on the New Haven football team in the early 1990s and I asked him his reaction of the Chargers going from closing down their football program to restarting it and quickly returning to a player on the Division II national scene.

"I am excited to see that," Porcha said. "I was talking to a lot of the guys who were there when I played. It was sad when they stopped football there I was almost ready to disown New Haven. I didn't even tell people that I graduated from Cincinnati because I ended up transferring there and now I am back to where I say 'yeah, I graduated from the University of New Haven.' You see what the football team is doing and he is busting his butt every single day, he is sending out e-mails keeping the alumni up to date and trying to bring the football back to prominence, I am excited as an alum to see what they've done and what they are continuing to do."

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