Aaron Holiday: ‘I feel I can come in and help them right away’

Aaron Holiday, Pacers, UCLA Bruins

The Pacers got their man with the 23rd overall pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft, taking point guard Aaron Holiday out of UCLA. The 6-foot-1 guard not only led the PAC-12 in scoring (20.3 ppg), but he also was named to the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team.

He’s a two-way player, something the Pacers really liked about him.

About 30 minutes after walking across the stage at the Barclays Center to shake the hand of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, Holiday, the final green room participant taken, spoke with the media. Read the Q&A below.

I’m just very blessed, very excited,” he said. “I feel I can come in and help them right away. And again, I’m just happy right now.

What have Jrue and Justin kind of taught you about the NBA, maybe preparing you, giving you advice? What kind of things have they shared with you?

Just always work hard. That’s really the key thing. Just stay focused and work hard and just go out there and play your game.

How excited are you to be playing in the same league as them and compete against them on a fairly regular basis?

I’m very excited. I haven’t gotten to play against my brothers since I was younger. They obviously used to beat me up back then, win all the games. So we’ll see next year, I guess.

What do you know about Indiana?

I know a lot about the team. A lot of Bruins there. Victor Oladipo is really good. They have some good young bigs. It’s also a great city. My sister- in-law is from there, so I know a little bit about that.

What are you hoping to bring to the squad?

Just somebody that will come in and just work. Somebody that can help the team right away, whether that’s getting to the basket, assisting, shooting the open three, spacing the floor, and obviously my defense. I feel like I can really help on defense.

This is obviously a dream come true for you, but when did you think you might be able to be an NBA player?

I think when I was maybe my sophomore year to junior year. I worked really hard on my game, and I was really starting to pretty much be able to dominate. That’s when I really felt like I could be an NBA player. As long as I kept working hard and I stayed focused, I thought I could make it.

When you were a kid, when did it first dawn on you that your brothers might be NBA-level players?

Well, growing up I always thought they were good enough to be NBA players. I have extreme confidence in my family and myself, so I pretty much knew at a young age that they were going to make it.

[Photo: Scott Chandler/UCLABruins.com]

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