St. Joseph's adds South Florida transfer Troy Holston, bolstering guard depth

NCAA BASKETBALL: JAN 17 South Florida at UCF
Troy Holston (right) averaged 9.7 and 7.9 points during his two seasons playing for South Florida.

St. Joseph’s backcourt-depth crisis, one that arose after junior-to-be Nick Robinson transferred to Valparaiso, didn’t take long to resolve.

On Monday, Troy Holston, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard formerly of South Florida, announced his intent to join the Hawks. Holston, who dealt with injuries throughout his time in Tampa but graduated in May, will be immediately eligible and have two seasons of eligibility left.

“I felt a connection with [St. Joseph’s coach Phil Martelli] from the first time we spoke, in the beginning of May,” Holston said Monday night. “We built that relationship for 10, 11 weeks, and Coach Martelli got it done for me. I was honestly waiting to go take a visit up there … and I just loved it. It kind of reminded me of Hogwarts.”

Holston last played for South Florida during the 2016-17 season, starting 20 of 30 games and averaging 9.7 points. His shooting percentages — 31.6 from three-point range and 34.0 from the field — were poor, but that was true for most of the team. The Bulls went 11-61 in American Athletic Conference play and cycled through three head coaches during Holston’s four years on the team.

“Out of high school, I only took one official visit, and that was to South Florida,” the Tampa native said. “I wish I would’ve taken another visit or two to compare schools, but with me being the young 18-year-old Troy, I was just so anxious to get to college. I thought USF was a great situation, which at the time it was for me. But I’ve been through a lot since I got here.”

Holston visited Evansville and Bowling Green before coming to Philadelphia last week and choosing St. Joseph’s. He was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA during the middle of the process, news that he said was “huge” for generating interest.

He had an injury-prone tenure with South Florida. Holston tore his left ACL during workouts after his freshman season in 2014-15 and sat out a year. Then in 2016-17, he stretched the same ACL in midseason and played through it, but after tearing a meniscus last summer, he elected to undergo surgery. He said he’s still not 100 percent cleared for all basketball activities but expects his recovery to be complete by the time practices begin in late September.

For St. Joseph’s, Holston’s addition to the depth chart fills a hole that emerged after Robinson announced his intent to transfer on June 29. Without Holston, the Hawks would likely have had to start true freshman Jared Bynum or deep reserve Toliver Freeman as one of their two guards next season.

“I want to be able to make an immediate impact in winning,” Holston said. “I want to have the responsibility of wins and losses on my plate, because I think I’m that type of player.”