North Park assistant coach Kevin Holmes with his son, Mark Holmes,

North Park assistant coach Kevin Holmes with his son, Mark Holmes, (Brad Siefert/North Park University / January 19, 2013)

Because of basketball, Mark Holmes' life started overseas.

With considerably less fanfare than his father, it appears Holmes' professional career will start in a foreign country too.

A son of Kevin Holmes, a four-year starter during DePaul's glory years in the early-to-mid 1980s, Mark Holmes is coming into his own this season at North Park.

A 6-foot-6 senior who transferred from Mississippi Valley State following his sophomore year, Holmes is averaging 17.4 points and 7.8 rebounds for a 6-10 North Park team that would be lost without him.

With the help of North Park assistant coach Kevin Holmes, a rugged power forward in his playing days, Mark Holmes has significantly improved his inside game.

"I think it was a great decision to transfer to North Park," Mark Holmes said. "I knew that coming from Division I to Division III, the competition level was going to be right there and I was going to have to work just as hard.

"It forced me to become more of a complete player. I had to change my game up completely this year. I was always a wing player, but we lost a couple big men and that forced me to go down low."

None of Kevin Holmes' three sons were highly decorated prep players, but they're all grinding their way to professional careers.

The eldest, Andre Holmes, played football at Conant well enough to continue his career at Division II Hillsdale. A wide receiver, he's now on the New England Patriots' practice squad after spending most of the last two seasons on the Cowboys' practice squad.

Kevin Holmes coached both Mark and Jason at Guerin Prep in River Grove. One year older than Mark, the 6-9 Jason Holmes also started at Mississippi Valley State and is now a senior at Morehead State.

"There are times when I don't think they're listening to me, but then they say something and I realize they really do," Kevin Holmes said. "The reason why they're in the position they are is because they're coachable, they work hard, they're good kids and they try to make the right decisions."

"At home we talk about everyday things, watch TV, joke around," Mark Holmes said. "On the court, he is Coach Holmes. I never call him dad on the court.

"The only exception is after practice, I might need money. Then I call him Coach Dad. When I call him Coach Dad, he starts dipping into the pocket for his wallet."

Mark Holmes file

College: North Park.

Class: Senior.

High school: Guerin.

Position: Forward.

Height: 6-6.

Numbers: 17.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, 48.2 percent FG.