Free agent knows future with Pacers uncertain

Tuesday, October 12th 2004, 8:05 pm
By: News On 6

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ Randy Holcomb knows his future with the Indiana Pacers is uncertain. He also knows that making game-winning baskets won't hurt his chances to make the team.

The free agent helped Indiana to an 85-84 victory over the Washington Wizards by tipping in a rebound as time expired Monday night in the preseason opener for both teams.

``Those moments are precious and priceless,'' said the 6-9, 280-pound forward from San Diego State. ``When things like that happen and people pat you on the back it feels really good.''

However, in 12 minutes against the Wizards, his only points came on the game-winner, so his roster spot is not secure. He also grabbed five rebounds.

The Pacers need to make at least three more cuts before the start of the regular season on Nov. 3 to get their roster down to the required 12 players. Coach Rick Carlisle said after Tuesday's practice that he has no immediate plans to make more cuts. But that does little to make Holcomb feel at ease.

``Preseason for me is like my playoffs, that's my championship,'' said Holcomb, a native of Chicago. ``If I keep getting those moments, I'm going to win the championship every time we play.''

Holcomb signed a free agent contract with the Pacers on Sept. 24. He was drafted in 2002 by the San Antonio Spurs in the second round (57th overall) and played with the Atlanta Hawks during preseason camp last year, but was waived before the start of the regular season.

Since 2002, Holcomb has played in the ABA, the Philippines Basketball League and a Euroleague team in Poland.

Pacers guard Stephen Jackson played with Holcomb during the Hawks preseason camp last year. Jackson, acquired by Indiana in the Al Harrington trade in July, said he knows what Holcomb has gone through trying to find a home in the NBA.

``I went through a little trial myself, so I think Randy is going through his ups and downs,'' Jackson said. ``A lot of times you come into camp and teams already have a lot of contracts done. You just got to go out there and try to turn some heads.

``His drive and passion for the game is tremendous. He'll definitely be in the NBA one day.''

Carlisle said Holcomb's game-winner should help him get more recognition, not only from the Pacers coaching staff, but also from other NBA teams.

``If you know there is only room for maybe one or two guys to make a team, you have to feel as though you're playing in front of your future employer with another team,'' Carlisle said. ``I'm sure that's how all of these guys are approaching it, and yet at the same time, there is a possibility that we could keep somebody.''

Holcomb's first choice is the Pacers, but he said he will be prepared if he ends up getting cut before the season.