UD’s Holmes will have strong support from family, friends at NBA Draft

Former Dayton forward expected to be first-round pick on Wednesday

Credit: David Jablonski

Credit: David Jablonski

Players invited to sit in the green room during the first round of the NBA Draft can invite six people to join them.

That’s the perfect number for DaRon Holmes II. He can include all the members of his family and two more people who have played big roles in his journey to this moment.

Holmes, a consensus All-American last season as a junior in his final season with the Dayton Flyers, will have his dad DaRon Sr., his mom Tomika, his younger brothers Quintyn and Cameron, his agent Aaron Reilly and UD coach Anthony Grant at his table Wednesday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Holmes Sr. said that group is part of 25 family and friends traveling from different parts of the country to support his son. That number doesn’t include other members of Grant’s coaching staff and about six of his former UD teammates who will be in the stands during the draft.

Daron Sr. has watched the draft many times on TV and always imagined what it might feel like to sit in the green room and wait for an announcement.

“It’s probably going to be overwhelming,” he said Saturday. “A lot of emotions. At the same time, we know the projected range. We know we’re going to have a long night waiting for his name to be called. We wouldn’t rather be anywhere else. We’re just hopeful that things fall the way they should and his name gets called and he gets to walk onto the stage and shake the commissioner’s hand and we get to put a cap on his amateur journey and start his professional one. We’re looking forward to it. We’re just anxious in anticipation of that long night.”

Holmes received an invitation to the draft on Thursday. He was one of 25 players invited to the green room, though one invited player, Purdue center Zach Edey, declined the invitation and will watch the draft at home.

Holmes planned to watch at home with his family and friends in Goodyear, Ariz., his dad said, until the invitation came six days before the draft.

“We were surprised,” DaRon Sr. said, “but we knew there was always a chance. We have been getting so much attention from NBA teams.”

The family quickly shifted gears and started planning a cross-country trip. They will fly to New York City on Monday for what will be a memorable few days.

“We’re so wrapped up in preparations and making sure he gets his workouts and training in, we really haven’t tried to stop and take it in,” Holmes Sr. said. “You have so much going on, you really don’t have the opportunity to stop and breathe and realize what’s about to happen. I mean we know how big it is. We’re getting a lot of well wishes and congrats from all of our many friends from across the country. It’s great. I’m just happy to see Deuce can be celebrated the way he’s being celebrated. A lot of folks have witnessed his hard work. At some point, we’re going to stop and take it all in, but right now we’re worried about getting people out to New York and making sure people have a place to stay.”

Dayton has never had a player in the green room during the draft. Four years ago, when Obi Toppin was the No. 8 pick, there wasn’t a green room because of the pandemic. Dayton’s Grant and associate head coach Ricardo Greer did watch the draft with Toppin and his family and friends, including teammate Jalen Crutcher, but did not get the same experience he’ll get Wednesday.

“He’s a big part of the journey,” DaRon Sr. said of the Dayton head coach, “and we we wanted to highlight the program and him personally at the coach, and it’s kind of a shout-out to the Flyer fans by having him there.”

Grant and Holmes saw each other Saturday in Phoenix. Bruce Pascoe, of the Arizona Daily Star, shared a photo on X (Twitter) of the two talking at a high school basketball showcase event, where Cameron Holmes, a top-20 2026 recruit who has a scholarship offer from Dayton, was playing.

NBA Draft experts expect Holmes to go as high as No. 16 or as low as No. 28. Krysten Peek, of Yahoo Sports, called it “one of the most unpredictable drafts in recent memory.”

Holmes has worked out three times a day near home in Goodyear, Ariz., since announcing in late May he would keep his name in the draft and not return to Dayton for his final season of eligibility. He has a private trainer, Vaughn Compton, who he has known for years. The Arizona Republic described Compton as “one of the best NBA player development coaches in the business.”

“When the season ended, it was all about training and working on different skill sets,” Holmes Sr. said. “He went to the combine and did about everything he needed to do at the combine. From there, it was just about what workouts we were going to go to for teams and who we were going to talk to. It’s been a long process. What I’m probably most looking forward to is knowing where he’s going to land and what team he’s going to get his opportunity with and then being able to start the next chapter. When he’s with a team, now he can start working on improving, figuring out how he’s going to fit in on his new team and starting to work to build some longevity and a career from day one.”

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