SYRACUSE, NY — There are many words that can be used to describe the year that 2020 has been, but ordinary is not one of them. The Coronavirus Pandemic is forcing everyone to adapt to unusual circumstances, and college recruitment is no different. In-person recruitment and on-campus tours can only be conducted behind a computer screen, making it significantly harder for players to experience a true recruitment process. Even with everything that 2020 has thrown Pro Holmes Sports’s way, they’ve never lost sight of their mission statement: developing players and preparing them for life as college athletes. To see how well PHS has responded to the global pandemic, look no further than PHS forward Sayid Burnside. Burnside, a 6’9” forward from Greenville, SC, originally saw himself going pro in a different sport. “I was gonna go to the NFL, on everything,” expressed Burnisde who only picked up a
basketball after a freshman year growth spurt gave him an extra four inches. He has since grown to a towering 6’9”, but his transition from running back to the five came with plenty of criticism. “Lot of people said I wasn’t supposed to be here…called me tall for nothing, just bashing me all the time,” said Burnside, who used the hate to “fuel me every night.”
As a tall yet raw prospect, Burnside mainly played center in high school, where he found it difficult to work on developing his perimeter game. With basketball nowadays transitioning to a more versatile and positionless style of play, Burnside felt the best way to get better was to continue developing his offensive arsenal. Nonetheless, Burnside was “confined to playing the five” in high school, and never really got the freedom to develop his skills. That is, until he signed with PHS and met Coach Aaron Holmes
for the first time. “I could do things, but I just wouldn’t show it, and then Coach Holmes helped me get over that hump,” admits Burnside who credits Holmes for moving him from center to forward, letting his offensive game grow. Holmes has also had a huge impact on developing player mentality, a sentiment that surely doesn’t only apply to Burnside. “Coach Homes, he’s just a great coach, a great mentor, he’s giving a lot of kids confidence to just go out there and hoop,” said PHS bigman Faustin Phanor who signed only a month ago, but still feels like his game has gotten “way better” since joining. “He made us believe in ourselves more,” added Phanor who also didn’t start playing basketball until his freshman year. With two players still somewhat new to the sport, Holmes has made quick work developing these kids into college level athletes.
Aside from a couple D3 offers, neither prospect got much traffic directly after high school. After joining PHS, they’ve both gotten offers from the likes of SMU and Tulsa, while Burnside has already committed to play at Florida A&M. Though Burnside has yet to visit FAMU’s campus, he learned enough about their values through hour long Zoom calls to determine that this is the right fit for him. While most universities never brought up family, FAMU talked for hours about what family means to Burnside, and how important it is for him to be close to his family. This made the difference in Burnside’s eyes, as he officially committed to FAMU on September 12th.
While seemingly nothing has come easy throughout this tumultuous year, PHS continues to excel at keeping it’s focus set on developing kids for the college level. While no prospect is a sure-thing, some need more time than others. That’s why guys like Phanor and Burnside came to PHS, and that’s why they are getting D1 offers just months after graduating high school. Burnside said it best, “I knew by the way I work and by the competition I play that one day I would sign Division I.” Now, he is the fourth member of the PHS ‘21 class to earn a D1 offer.