Chad Ford from ESPN.com has an interesting piece up on "three draft enigmas to watch." His Highness - Jrue Holiday - the greatest, can't miss basketball recruit of all time who was unfairly held back by a brutal, dictator of a college basketball coach is in that list. Well at least that's the storyline from this piece. Can't blame Chad Ford for writing it I guess because someone must have been working on him real hard to shape the story that way.
Holiday's frustration extended beyond playing out of position. Howland's half-court, grind-it-out approach on offense also was a thorn in Holiday's side. By the end of a disappointing season, a flustered Holiday surprised a lot of NBA people by declaring for the draft.
So apparently His Highness has absolutely no personal responsibility for the way he performed this past season. It was all the fault of Coach Ben Howland for asking a college freshman to play within the same system that he had asked of all the other blue chippers in UCLA basketball program. Poooor poooor Jrue Holiday. He had to suffer through playing the 2 spot. Oh the horror of asking an athletic basketball player to play out of position for the benefit of a team. I can picture Magic Johnson whining away for being asked to play center (oh wait that actually happened and like a winner he didn't whine).
Never mind he was given every opportunity to shine by a coach who game after game kept giving him almost 25-30 mins of valuable PT, while other heralded recruits such as ML was playing much better defense and showing more heart.
This gets even more amusing:
Holiday also showed off his terrific defensive abilities. He's strong, long, quick and active. He has the potential to be a lockdown defender at either backcourt position in the pros. Given the rise of elite, virtually unstoppable guards in the league, that alone could get him drafted high.
Terrific defensive abilities? LOL Yeha. His defense was "terrific" against Washington State's Klay Thompson or all the other big games when he was dreaming about the NBA instead of taking care of Howland's defensive assignments.
Then there was this note about Holiday being a "shooter":
Holiday struggled as a shooter at UCLA, but watching him in the gym this past week, I don't have any real concerns there. He has great form on his jump shot and was hitting virtually every midrange jump shot and college 3-pointer he took. Holiday is still finding his range from the NBA 3-point line. He can make the shot but is much more inconsistent stepping out the extra few feet. But the truth is, almost all prospects have the same issue when transitioning from college to the pros.
Yeah everyone can look so smooth and sharp in practices.
Anyway, the good news is this charade is almost over. Mr. Holiday is gone and now report is out of an agent "advising" him through this process:
UCLA coach Ben Howland isn't making a prediction on freshman Jrue Holiday just yet. Holiday, who was back in Florida at the IMG Academy this week, is expected to return to campus for exams and then head to Chicago next week for the draft combine. NBA sources said they fully expect Holiday to stay in the draft since he's projected to be selected somewhere from the teens on down in the first round. Agent Dan Fegan is advising Holiday, just as Miller is doing for Lawal and James.
His Highness can't leave soon enough allowing all of us to move on.
it will be interesting though to see what happens if His Highness flops in the NBA when a team in need asks him to do something he is not familiar with. May be we will read another round of stories about some hard ass NBA coach stifling the greatest basketball talent of all time, who would take his ball and run to the super ultra NBA.