At the Timberwolves Shootout on Saturday, Jrue Holiday
sat on the sidelines watching his AAU teammate and friend Larry Drew
Jr. going through warm-ups. As Drew missed a lay-up, Holiday directed some friendly trash talk his way. Drew went to the free throw line, and Holiday yelled out miss it, miss it. This continued throughout the first half, until Jrue went into the locker-room to change for his game. The Campbell-Hall junior displayed a competitive personality both on and off the court, and wowed fans at the Target Center with his ability to play basketball.
Jrue came back to the court 30 minutes later with his Campbell Hall teammates. They were about to face off against Hopkins, a school that had won back to back state titles in Minnesota. With the game about to begin, Jrue was focused on nothing but winning. Right from the start, Holiday displayed why he is so highly regarded by many people in the basketball world. Jrue went to the basket relentlessly, making some spectacular lay-ups inside and finding open teammates in traffic. He set the pace for the game early, and the Minnesota team wasnt able to keep pace with the transition team from California.
Jrue and Justin Holiday are brothers from Campbell Hall High School located in North Hollywood, California. Jrue is the #2 prospect in the class of 2008, and Justin is a senior headed to Washington next season. Together they share a competitive fire that has existed since childhood. Nothing speaks to this more than the one on one battles they had growing up.
We never play one on one anymore, but when we did, wed never finish because wed get, uh- a little physical, said Jrue. We really didnt keep score either.
His older brother shares the same memories.
We never finished the games, we fought. It was always his fault too, Justin added with a laugh.
Justin and Jrue also have a younger brother and a younger sister who want to take the path of their older siblings.
My younger brother is 10, my sister is 13, said Jrue. When asked who would be the best in the family, he responded, Probably my little brother [Aaron]. My sisters good too, but my little brother is playing against me, Justin and my sister.
The brothers shared passion for the game was obvious on the court Saturday. Jrue finished the game with 20 points, 12 rebounds and 7 assists, and Justin added 28 points, 14 rebounds, and 4 assists for Campbell Hall, who took down Minnesotas top team. But for all their similarities, they are very different people, both on and off the basketball court.
On the court, Jrue is known for his all-around talent as a basketball player as well as his competitive nature. He plays both guard positions, and is a great passer off the dribble. In transition, hes not afraid to throw the ball down court, and usually puts the ball in the perfect spot for his teammates. Jrue possesses a smooth shooting stroke as well, though he only took one perimeter shot in his game against Hopkins. Off the dribble, he looks very smooth, and has a number of moves that allow him to finish inside. Though he did his job both as a scorer and a distributor against Hopkins, Jrue thought he could have played better.
An area Id like to work on is not forcing shots. Today I was taking it in against 3 and 4 people, and I cant do that, I have to dish it out, Jrue said after the game. Jrue Holiday
s favorite thing to do on the court is distribute the ball. This was evident from both the way he played and his comments after the game.
I think Im doing pretty well when it comes to passing the ball and looking for the open man.
The two biggest assets the younger Holiday brings to the basketball court are intangibles and competitiveness. He has that rare ability on the court to do everything necessary to win a basketball game. This ability stems from Jrues resentment of losing.
This one game, we were winning by about 40, and one of the other teams players scored and started talking trash, one of Jrues Campbell Hall teammates described. Jrue said Theyre not scoring another point and continued to play like the game was tied.
Justin Holiday shares his brothers competitiveness, but is very different in terms of both game and personality. He scores a lot of his points slashing to the basket, and is a good shooter when he is able to set his feet. Jrue is known as the fundamentally solid all-around scorer, and Justin is the lanky athletic slasher. Against Hopkins, the elder Holiday wowed the crowd more than once with alley-oop dunks on passes from his brother. A senior this year, Justin is looking forward to next season at the University of Washington.
The main thing about Washington is Coach Lorenzo, hes a cool dude. Thats the biggest thing, but the schools really beautiful too, Justin said describing his college decision. I didnt put myself to one school, but when it got up to the time I visited, I knew which one I wanted to go to
Justin doesnt receive nearly as much attention on the national level as his brother, and isnt even rated among the top 150 players in the class of 2007. He sometimes wonders why he doesnt receive more attention, but in the end, hes not bothered by the lack of attention.
Sometimes I wonder, but then it doesnt matter, said Justin. If you have to play me, you better come with it, it doesnt matter to me. Im going to the school I want to, everythings fine, so Im not going to worry about that.
Off the court, Justin is easy going and talkative. He always jokes around with his teammates, and always speaks whats on his mind. Jrue Holiday
struggles sometimes with all the attention he receives off the court, and is a quiet person to begin with. At the age of 17, he is constantly being called by media members and schools, so much to the point where he sometimes doesnt answer his home phone anymore.
Yeah, its a little awkward, Jrue said, speaking about all the attention he receives. Its easier when I have my family with me, but nah, I dont really like all the attention.
For all of the hype Jrue has to deal with, he has managed to remain level headed through the process. On the court everything is about his teammates and winning. This was evident when Jrue threw a perfect pass to his brother for a dunk. Jrues immediate reaction was to yell Thats my brother.
As the mid-way point of his junior year approaches, Jrue Holiday
has a college decision to think of in addition to his usual school and basketball responsibilities. He is looking to have his options narrowed down sometime before school starts next season. Washington, North Carolina, UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State, USC, Texas, and Florida State were the schools listed as pursuing him the hardest, but many factors will weigh into the decision.
When asked what will be most important to him when it comes to him making his college choice, Jrue responded, Style of play. Yeah, I would love to play with my brother, but basically what school fits me and style of play where we get up and down the floor.
There are a number of people Jrue Holiday
would love to play with in college. He mentioned that hed like to play with a lot of his current teammates, but another name popped into the discussion as well.
Id definitely play with Larry Drew
. Hes a good person off the court, and hes real funny, and on the court hes a great passer as you can see.
No matter where Jrue Holiday
ends up, he has a very bright future if he continues on his current path of development. Hes probably as good of a candidate as any from the class of 2008 to go one and done in college. A combination of ability, personality, and competitiveness make Jrue Holiday
a name to look out for in the future.