Pacers select UCLA’s Aaron Holiday 23rd overall

UCLA Bruins, Aaron Holiday

The Pacers have found their future point guard. For the second consecutive year, the Pacers used their first-round pick to select a UCLA Bruin, the latest being point guard Aaron Holiday.

Holiday — who became the first Bruin player to lead the Pac-12 in scoring since Reggie Miller (1986) — joins fellow Bruins Darren Collison, T.J. Leaf, and Ike Anigbogu in Indy.

The name may sound familiar because, yes, he’s the young brother of Jrue (New Orleans Pelicans) and Justin (Chicago Bulls). Holiday, who turns 22 on Sept. 30th, attended the draft in New York. He was accompanied by his brothers and was the final player selected from the green room.

Holiday worked out for about 13 teams, but the Pacers weren’t one of them. They didn’t get him in. But team executives met with the point guard at the draft combine in Chicago where they are able to interview up to 20 prospects. For the Pacers, that group included Pritchard, GM Chad Buchanan, VP of Basketball Operations Kevin Pritchard, and Director of Player Personnel Ryan Carr.

“I’m somebody who is going to come in and play hard, playmaking, shoot the ball at a high level, and play defense,” Holiday, sounding exhausted from the day’s events, said on a conference all with local media almost two hours after hearing his named called. Part of the delay in hearing from Aaron was that his two brothers were tagging along and doing everything with him.

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

The Pacers saw many similarities between Darren Collison, who will be brought back for a second year with the team, and Holiday. Quickness, shooting, and a feisty attitude. Where they lack in size they make up for with toughness and fight.

“He has a chance to be a starter down the line,” Kevin Pritchard, the Pacers’ President, said. “He fits off of Victor well because he’s a great catch-and shoot. … That’s one of his real specialities.

“He’s a bulldog defender, he’s as tough as they get. … We felt like he had a great pedigree. When we talk about players, the first thing we talk about is ‘Is he tough?’ And he’s that.

“He’s hungry to play. He goes in the season behind Cory and Darren, but I see him competing for minutes. One thing you know about that third point guard position: During the season, you get a chance to play. I would shocked if he didn’t play some next year.”

He averaged 20.3 points, 5.8 assists, and 3.7 rebounds per game in his junior season at UCLA. He was named All-Pac-12 First Team, was an All-Defensive Team selection, and shot 42.9 percent from distance (88 of 205).

“Going in [to the draft process], I wasn’t really that highly-touted, but I am very confident in my abilities. I guess you can say defense really pushed me forward and put me in the top tier of the draft. I’m just excited to be here.”

Holiday will be introduced in Indianapolis on Friday.

One Response to Pacers select UCLA’s Aaron Holiday 23rd overall
  1. […] Pacers select UCLA’s Aaron Holiday 23rd overall  Vigilant Sports […]

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