football

UCLA gets its man

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Will the backcourt ever be loaded for UCLA coach Ben Howland. The Bruins already have two four-star guards committed from the 2008 class, and now they have a commitment from the top guard in the country Jrue Holiday.
"They had a camp at UCLA and once it was over, Jrue went to coach Howland and told him he'd love to be a part of their program," said Campbell Hall head coach Terry Kelly. "That is just so Jrue and the Holiday family. They don't want a lot of publicity. It made sense that he would do it that way."
Holiday, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound combo guard from North Hollywood (Calif.) Campbell Hall High School, chose his hometown school over Washington, where his brother Justin Holiday will be a freshman next year. Coach Kelly cited the tradition of UCLA and the comfort level with Coach Howland as major factors in the decision.
"It's funny," said Kelly. "Originally, we thought Justin was going to be the one that stays home and Jrue would be the one that left for school. It turns out that was the complete opposite of how we all saw it.
"I think with the tradition of UCLA and with all of the proven players that they've had there and how well prepared they are for the next level, Jrue saw all of the positives on and off the court. Ben Howland has prepared a number of guards for the next level and Jrue knows what to expect from him."
A physically mature player with a mature game, Holiday joins guards Jerime Anderson and Malcolm Lee along with post player Drew Gordon as 2008 UCLA commitments. All three of Holiday's future teammates are four-star prospects, giving UCLA one of the strongest recruiting classes of 2008.
A lock down defender capable of defending and playing all three perimeter positions, Holiday projects as a NBA point guard. Along with his well rounded game, Holiday is also known as a fierce competitor.
"We have a lot of competitive drills and rarely does he ever lose them," said Kelly. "If he does lose them, watch out. I love telling this story about him. We just won 25 games before he was a freshman and our best player, Joe Ford (who went on to play at Pacific) was the region player of the year and he was returning. We matched up and Jrue, who was only a freshman, stepped up and said he'll take him. He's only a freshman. That's when I knew what his mental make-up is all about. He has that killer mentality. When those opportunities are out there to win the game, he wants the ball. This kid has only lost seven games in high school and two of those came in the state championship game."
Holiday is coming off a tremendous performance in the USA Basketball Youth Development Festival in Colorado Springs where he averaged eight assists per game to only two turnovers while playing on a team with both Anderson and Lee.
Holiday is the No. 2 ranked prospect in the Rivals150.
Jrue Holiday scouting report:
A true combo guard, Holiday is the most complete guard prospect in the 2008 class. He is an explosive athlete, yet efficient player with a smooth stroke from deep and the ability to slash to the basket and finish in a variety of ways. In fact, he is actually a better driver and finisher with his left hand. On the other side of the ball, he can lock down either guard position and is a strong rebounder.
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