Thursday, February 24, 2011
Look At Them Now: Justin Holiday
By Sean Ceglinsky
|Justin Holiday's versatility makes him extremely valuable to the Washington Huskies.|
It must be difficult living in the supposed shadows of a sibling. Justin Holiday might understand this better than most considering his kid brother Jrue Holiday is enjoying success in the NBA nowadays while big brother is finishing up his college career at Washington.
Odds are, Justin has no problem with his brother earning a starting point guard gig with the Philadelphia 76ers this season. And who knows, with some continued improvement, perhaps the former Southland standout from North Hollywood Campbell Hall High will end up making name for himself and follow a similar path to the pros.
“Jrue was always special, but Justin was no slouch, not by any means,'' said one-time Campbell Hall coach Terry Kelly, currently the head coach at Atlanta (GA) Holy Innocents Episcopal High. “You had the feeling that it was just a matter of time before Justin put it all together, and in my opinion, I think he's beginning to do that now. Thing is, his timing could not be much better.''
Kelly could be onto something here. After all, Holiday seemingly improves each and every game he is in the lineup and plays major minutes for the Huskies (19-8 overall), who will host UCLA on March 3 in a Pac-10 Conference game that will be televised by ESPN.
The 6-foot-6 senior forward, a co-captain along with Isaiah Thomas, ranks among the team leaders in per game averages of points (11.9), rebounds (5.2), assists (2.1) and steals (1.3). It is worth mentioning his field-goal percentage (.504) is up there with Washington's best.
Keep this in mind, Holiday was a seldom-used reserve as a freshman for the Huskies. He took a big step forward as a sophomore and was one of the first players off the bench. Accordingly, his role expanded during his junior season and he was named to the Pac-10 All-Defensive Team.
“You've got to like what you get with Justin,'' Kelly said. “He can play the three or the four and tends to gives people fits with his athleticism. Nothing has changed since I had him. I think his versatility is what separates him from the others and makes him attractive to minds in the NBA.''
At Campbell Hall, he was a four-year starter and played alongside his brother in three of those seasons. The older Holiday opened plenty of eyes along the way, particularly so as a junior when he averaged 20 points and 12 rebounds per game. As a senior, Division I college followed him closely. He did not disappoint, of course, with averages of 19 points and nine rebounds.
Holiday had scholarship offers on the table from schools such as Southern Methodist and Texas Tech, among others. USC was in the mix too. Ultimately though, he had a good rapport with Washington coach Lorenzo Romar and the Huskies prevailed in the recruiting game.
“Justin was as intense as they come back in his high school days, his work ethic was tremendous and that's carried over to the next level,'' said former Campbell Hall assistant Paul Tait, who is currently filling the same position at nearby Woodland Hills Taft High. “Justin had a different mentality when he stepped foot out on the court, it's what made him so unique back then, and now. He has a high ceiling and it will be interesting to see how far he can go in this sport.''
No longer in a Fogg
Has anyone out there had the opportunity to see Arizona in action recently? If so, the name Kyle Fogg should sound somewhat familiar.
The Brea Olinda High graduate knocked down six three-pointers last week en route to a career-high 26 points against Arizona State in a 67-52 Pac-10 Conference victory for the Wildcats, No. 10 in both the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll and Associated Press rankings.
Fogg worked his way in the lineup for Arizona earlier this season and the junior has remained a fixture in the rotation ever since, averaging 25.2 minutes.
The fact he is doing well might come as surprise to some considering he did not have many scholarship offers as a senior at Brea Olinda. At the time, he averaged 24.9 points, 8.6 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 2.3 steals per game.
Regardless, he appears to have found his niche at Arizona.
Fogg makes his return to Southern California later tonight in a game against USC. A showdown with UCLA looms thereafter, on Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m.
Jackson is man of action
For those who thought it would take Lorne Jackson a while to get acclimated to his surroundings at Pepperdine, you were mistaken. The former Simi Valley High star has made the transition appear easy and is contributing more than ever these days.
Make no mistake, the Waves have needed him to emerge.
In the absence of Keion Bell (Pasadena High), who was suspended for conduct detrimental to the team earlier this season, Jackson has filled the void left behind.
Since the cracking the starting lineup recently, the junior is averaging 12.2 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.4 steals per game for Pepperdine (11-18 overall), which travels to play Santa Clara in a West Coast Conference game on Saturday night at 7 p.m.
Sean Ceglinsky covers preps for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.