Hollandsworth: Attitude Plus -- Hard Work Made Newport Standout Unbeatable


The sight of Todd Hollandsworth on a basketball court seemed unusual enough.

But the sight of him when he showed up in the Newport High School gym for his first day of basketball practice last winter was almost too much for Coach Rich Belcher.

"He was a physical mess," Belcher said. "Literally, he had his stomach so bruised from that game . . . And the scars on his arms . . . He had scabs all over his forearms. I said, `Look, you can take two days off.' "

Fresh from a 13-game beating during the Newport football season - including the Class AAA state-championship game two nights earlier - Hollandsworth could have used two months to recuperate.

But Hollandsworth would have none of that. He showed up for practice as scheduled. "He gave us everything he had for 2 1/2 hours of practice," Belcher said. "Todd Hollandsworth doesn't know how to go light. He doesn't know how to go half speed."

That attitude helped Hollandsworth become an all-league selection in baseball and football and a key contributor in basketball. He is The Times' 1990-91 Eastside male athlete of the year.

His attitude helped because Hollandsworth didn't know a lot about playing high-school varsity basketball. Before his senior season, he had played only as a ninth-grader in Billings, Mont., and in pickup games.

"When I decided to play basketball, I decided to play," Hollandsworth said. "I don't like to sit. I worked my butt off."

His full-speed effort - and his natural abilities - earned him a spot in Belcher's six-man rotation during the Knight's 22-8 state-tournament season. Hollandsworth scored 4.7 points per game with a season-high 13 in a victory over Bellevue.

"And Todd actually became one of our top defensive players," Belcher said. "He did an excellent job. . . . He did a hell of a lot in four months.

"I wish I could have had him for four years. That's probably the thing that will haunt me about him. . . . I really think, pound-for-pound he's the best athlete in the state."

Hollandsworth was a first-team all-league football player on both offense and defense, and a third-round baseball draft choice of the Los Angeles Dodgers. "He can play anything," said Bill Bloomer, Newport football coach. "I don't know if there's a game they've made he can't excel in. He's excelled in everything he's done at this school."

The 6-foot-2, 195-pound senior rushed for 1,047 yards on 152 carries (6.9 average) and scored 23 touchdowns for the KingCo Conference champion Knights, who didn't lose a game until the state final.

"He was just a driving force for us down the stretch," Bloomer said. "When we got into the playoffs he was the guy that stepped up and in essence carried us. All of the guys picked their level of play up a bit, but Todd's was really noticeable. He was the other guy that other people were going to have to stop."

And the guy nobody did. Hollandsworth scored 10 touchdowns in four playoff games, including four (on 160 yards rushing) during Newport's 41-12 state semifinal victory over Franklin of Seattle.

On his third touchdown run of that game, he was stopped a yard short of the goal line. Instead of falling, he stayed upright, dragging three Franklin defenders into the end zone.

"It wasn't just Franklin," Bloomer said. "He set the tone in the Bellarmine Prep game (the Knights' playoff opener).

"We run a play where everybody is accounted for except the safety, and the safety has to step up and take him on."

Hollandsworth got the call, 3 yards from the end zone in a first-quarter drive, and sprinted toward the middle - toward Bellarmine's 6-foot-5 safety.

"And Todd obliterated him. He literally just ran right over him," Bloomer said. "That set the tone right there."

It was the first touchdown in a 47-6 Newport victory.

"He's extremely driven in his effort for excellence. He is very focused," Belcher said. "He is just a competitor. When he stepped on a basketball court, he made us better because of his attitude."

It's no accident.

"Whenever I start to do something, I work hard at it," Hollandsworth said. Even basketball, which he decided to play for no other reasons than to stay fit and because it was his senior year. "Coach Belcher told me I was going to get my (playing) time, but I'd have to work hard at it. I said, `That's the way I am. I believe in myself.' "

For all his work in basketball and football, Hollandsworth's first love always has been baseball. From the time he started playing at age 8 in New Jersey to the day (Monday) the Dodgers made him the state's first high-school player drafted.

"I just always thought this was a sport I would always play, even after high school," said Hollandsworth, an outfielder. "I just kind of picked it up from the beginning."

Said Newport baseball coach Lee Migliore: "He's one of the best we've ever had. Because of the simple fact he can do all the different things. He can run. He can hit. He can throw. We've had some kids who could do one or two of those things but not all of them."

Hollandsworth hit .368 for the 3-17 Knights despite rarely seeing a fastball because of an inexperienced lineup around him. He was the only returning starter for the Knights.

"It was a learning experience - that's for sure," he said. "It was kind of frustrating losing 17 out of 20 games, but it helped me mentally. It really did. There are things in baseball I'm going to have to overcome - slumps and stuff. And this helped."

So will his attitude.

TODD HOLLANDSWORTH / BIO School: Newport High School. Year: Senior. Height, weight: 6-2, 195. Sports: Football, basketball, baseball.

Accomplishments: In football made first team all-Crest Division at both running back and linebacker for the KingCo Conference-champion Knights. Led Newport to Class AAA state final with 1,047 yards on 152 carries (6.9-yard average) and 23 touchdowns - 10 TDs in four playoff games. Played high-school basketball for first time in winter and became Knights' first player off the bench - most games the only player off the bench - despite a late start because of football playoffs. Scored 4.7 points per game, playing an average of 10 minutes. Hit .386 with two home runs and 10 runs batted in as the only returning player for the school's 3-13 baseball team, and Monday became the state's first high-school player chosen in the amateur baseball draft when the Los Angeles Dodgers selected him in the third round.

-- Personal: Born in Dayton, Ohio, Hollandsworth's family moved to New Jersey when he was three years old, and he began playing baseball there five years later. After 15 months in Billings, Mont., the Hollandsworths moved to Bellevue during Todd's sophomore year. . .Carries a 3.2 grade-poing average. . .Signed a baseball letter of intent to attend Washington State University.