Heels Tracking Holiday

In almost every story you read, or interview you hear, about a special or potentially special athlete there's always somebody talking about how that person has "it". Whether it's a coach, a family member, opposing player or an analyst, nobody can ever put their finger on exactly what "it" is. Go ahead and file Jrue Holiday as one of those "it" guys.

Spend some time talking with the six-foot-four inch guard from North Hollywood (Calif.) Campbell Hall's coach Terry Kelly, and it's clear that Kelly could go through an entire edition of Roget's describing his star junior. The thing is, that's just talking about what type of kid Holiday is off of the court.

Mix in what he's capable of on the court and you've got one of the most coveted players in the class of 2008. However, you're not likely to get a hold of Holiday to talk about it because he's not really caught up in his own hype.

"He's very humble in that way," Kelly told Inside Carolina. "I don't know if he doesn't like [attention], but he doesn't seek it. It's almost like it embarrasses him a little."

Quiet off the court, Holiday is a workmanlike performer on it who does so much it's impossible not to notice him. When word about how good he could be started to trickle out during his seventh and eighth grade years, Kelly saw the potential. But, he didn't really get to see what the excitement was about until Holiday showed up for his first day of practice.

"He seems to have this knack, this instinct that isn't taught, it's genetic or something. The very first day of practice, I knew we had a kid full of potential," says Kelly. "When he's on the floor his game speaks for itself. There's nothing he won't try out there and he's usually successful."

When Kelly says Holiday will try anything, he means it. He's the type of kid who will start shooting threes with his left hand instead of his natural right because he's confident he can do it. Why not? He handles the ball well, he defends, he can shoot and he rebounds extremely well for his position.

This year he'll even add a new twist, playing point guard.

"We're talking about a kid that could average 40 points a game," said Kelly. "But the biggest knock on him is that he's too unselfish. That's why we are going to play him at the point this year. We know he'll get everybody else involved but take over when he needs to."

Not surprisingly, some of the nation's top programs have come calling on Holiday. All of the top Pac-10 programs like Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA, USC and Washington (where Holiday's older brother Justin, a senior, committed during the summer) have been by so much that Kelly jokes they have a parking pass for the school. Texas has been in, Jim Calhoun has been by, Florida State, Illinois and Louisville have been by. North Carolina's Roy Williams has been in attendance as well.

"I asked North Carolina, "Where would you play him," says Kelly. "They said ‘We don't care where the kid plays, he just needs to be on the court."

At this point in his recruitment, Holiday has yet to decide on a list of favorites and Kelly says that it will probably be until the end of his star player's junior season before he develops a list of favorites. However, he also mentioned that UNC is a program that Holiday is very familiar with.

"One of Jrue's childhood programs he grew up with was North Carolina, he loves North Carolina," says Kelly of Holiday's interest in the Heels. "There hasn't been an official offer from them to him yet. But, the interest from them is to the point that it's like he has been [offered]."

Still a long ways from making a decision, Holiday and his family are looking for most of the same things as any other player. He'd like to play early, he'd like a good education and he'd like to play against the best competition. Wherever that is, it sounds like he's a goal oriented young man who definitely has "it".

"He has some lofty goals," finished Kelly. "I think he sees himself playing beyond college and he wants a program to prepare him for that. If he doesn't make it, he wants a place that will prepare him for his professional vocation."

Jrue Holiday Profile

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