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UNG Student Balances Life and Athletic Career


Ishmael Hollis began playing basketball at six years old. At that age it is hard to envision making a career out of the game, but Hollis now 30, can safely say that he has been able to do so. Hollis played high school ball at Flowery Branch. It was in his junior year that he could see himself making a career out of it. “I had a good season and I had people contacting me about opportunities to play pro basketball,” said Hollis.

Ishmael Hollis with his coach photo provided by Hollis

Hollis shared that his coach in high school Duke Mullis played a pivotal role in shaping his game and is one of his favorite coaches that he has played for. “I got much better as a player and as a person playing for Coach Mullis.” After high school, Hollis began his collegiate career at Western Carolina University, where he played from 2010-2012.

After the 2012 season he transferred to the University of North Georgia and in his first season with the team averaged a team-best 15.4 points a game. Hollis was named to the Peach Belt 2nd All-Conference performers and the 1st team Georgia Basketball Coaches Association Division two all-state team.

Hollis has spent a lot of time playing in many different professional leagues. Notably, the NBA and FIBA-sponsored league in Africa where he played for AS Salé out of Morocco and in the NBA G League for the Miami Heat and the Sioux Fall Skyforce.

Ishmael Hollis on media with AS Sale photo provided by Hollis

After spending a few years playing professionally overseas Hollis became a father in 2017. After having his son Hollis’s outlook on his career changed and he wanted to focus on being there for his son and family. “I believe being a parent that is present is essential in every child’s life,” he said. “I did not have a father that was present growing up, this is what drives me to be as involved as I can be.”

Hollis said that he has a lot of experience balancing his athletic career with his personal life and academic career. “For me balancing family, school, and basketball is something I’ve always done. It is kind of natural for me,” he said. He admits that it is difficult at times and understands that the different sections of his life require time in order to be successful.

“All you can do is give your best effort, put your heart into it and everything will take care of itself. If your heart is not in it then your effort will not be either.”- Ishmael Hollis, a communications major at UNG

Hollis attributes his success to his motivations; God, family, and opportunity. “I’m so thankful that God blessed me with an amazing family, friends, and opportunities. Because I’m thankful for all that I have been blessed with, I give 110% effort and that is how I show everyone my appreciation with my work ethic,” he said.

After tearing his achilles during a game in China this past season Hollis is not sure what the future holds but plans to take it head-on. “Right now I am just taking it day by day. I am not sure what the future holds, but whatever it may be I know that I will put my all into it,” Hollis said.

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Owen Langford, Editor in Chief
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UNG Student Balances Life and Athletic Career