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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “A character off the court, a leader on it”

    Redshirt senior guard Joy Hollingsworth
    Redshirt senior guard Joy Hollingsworth

    There’s the one about the time she plastered pictures of her head coach around McKale Center. Or the time she made an album detailing that coach’s most memorable quotes.

    Yeah, just about everyone has a favorite Joy Hollingsworth story.

    “”I don’t know if I can tell the whole story, but last year, we were getting ready to play Stanford,”” said point guard Malia O’Neal. “”No, I don’t think I can tell that one.””

    “”Stanford?”” asked guard Ashley Whisonant. “”Yeah, I think that’s my favorite one, but I can’t tell it.””

    Hollingsworth, a senior, is charged with leading the Arizona women’s basketball team on the court this season, but it’s what the guard does off it that brings the team together.

    “”She’s the type of person that, you know, maybe you’re not in the mood to laugh, maybe you had a bad day,”” Whisonant said, “”and you can’t help but to laugh at things she did or things she said. She makes the team more exciting.””

    From suggesting the team count in Spanish during stretching to cooking for home-cooked-meal-starved freshmen – “”Her string beans? Ask anybody about Joy’s string beans,”” O’Neal said – Hollingsworth leads the way when it comes to being a leader.

    “”I’ve been very pleased with her on being vocal,”” said UA head coach Joan Bonvicini, “”just being a good role model for the younger kids, taking them under her wing.””

    Added Whisonant: “”I think that just by nature, she’s a leader because she’s so outgoing, and you can’t help but to notice her. …You see Joy, and you’re just like, ‘Oh, there’s Joy. Oh, let me go do what she does.’ She always works hard and always does things that you would want to do yourself. She’s a natural leader.””

    Spend a few moments with Hollingsworth, and you’ll quickly find out that all 5-foot-9 of her is full of energy, sarcasm and laughter.

    Joy’s a joy

    • Led the Wildcats in scoring average, field goals, field goal percentage, 3s, rebounds and rebound average last season.
    • One of two players to start all 30 games.
    • Cousin of New York Knicks and former Washington guard Nate Robinson.
    • Redshirted 2004-05 after transferring from San Francisco.
    • Prankster who posted pictures of UA head coach Joan Bonvicini from the start of her career in the 1980s around McKale Center.

    “”(My teammates) just think I’m funny sometimes,”” Hollingsworth said. “”I don’t think I’m funny. I just kind of speak my mind and tell it how it is sometimes. But, yeah, I try to be funny.””

    It’s in almost everything she does: On the court (Hollingsworth once used her cell phone to videotape a teammate dunking) and off the court (when the team was participating in Habitat for Humanity last month, Hollingsworth was playfully lampooning teammates Suzy and Beatrice Bofia, who hail from Africa, for not knowing what a popsicle was).

    During the team’s annual media day, Hollingsworth was asked if the games this season would be more enjoyable with the added depth on the roster.

    “”I think games are going to be a lot more funner – is that a word? More fun? Funner? Yeah, don’t write that,”” she said, smiling. “”Uh, definitely more fun.””

    And about the one thing people should know about her:

    “”If you go around with your head negative and you think negative, your life’s going to be negative,”” she said. “”But if you always think positive – like, for example, I think I’m going to win Powerball – you know, that keeps me going. I look for it every Wednesday and Saturday. I really think I’m going to win it.””

    And then, of course, there are the stories.

    “”(Hollingsworth) found pictures of me from a long time ago, let’s just say, and she put down ‘Coach B’s wardrobe’ or something. And it was pretty funny,”” Bonvicini said, lowering her voice, “”but she put it all over the building. I mean, she didn’t just put it in our offices or in our locker room,”” the coach recalled, smiling. “”She put it all over the building.””

    It turns out that Hope Nsiah-Kumi, the former women’s basketball sports information director, had pictures of Bonvicini from the start of her career in the 1980s.

    “”These jackets were just like ridiculous, and like colorful outfits. She had this dress jumpsuit,”” Hollingsworth said. “”And I was like, ‘I’m going to have to post these around McKale.’ So I went to Kinko’s …and put pictures of coach B on there, and put like ‘Joanie B’s Boutique.’

    “”She thought it was funny, but she was like, ‘Take it down now,'”” Hollingsworth added in her best Bonvicini impression.

    Said Whisonant: “”Joy always comes up with innovative things to do, like the thing she did about coach B, put pictures up of her. It always has to do with something around coach B.””

    But when it comes down to it, the team’s leading returning scorer from last season at 14.4 points per game gets it done on the court. Hollingsworth also led the 2005-06 team in field-goal percentage and 3-point field goals and was second on the team in assists and third in steals.

    “”I think as a player, she’s as talented – she’s a very good shooter, I want her to shoot even more,”” Bonvicini said. “”I mean she has the green light, and I want her to know that.””

    The same confidence that Bonvicini has in Hollingsworth resonates throughout the team.

    “”Especially in big games, we know she’s going to hit the big shot, she’s going to take the big shot (and) she’s not going to be afraid,”” O’Neal said. “”She has a certain confidence about her.””

    “”She doesn’t have to always say things,”” O’Neal added. “”We know that Joy’s going to be ready, Joy’s prepared to come out and do what she has to do.””

    But about that Stanford story?

    “”Oh my god,”” Hollingsworth said when asked. “”I don’t know, I just thought the team needed some extra energy, so…””

    No, I don’t think we can tell you that one.

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