"Jrue Holiday, from UCLA, trying to fit in with new team in a new climate"
""Yeah, you could say I'm having some culture shock,"" said Holiday, cracking a smile before Sixers practice last Wednesday at the
The Sixers are Holiday's third team in three years. The quick leaps from
spent only a freshman season — a mere 35 games — as a Bruin before bungee-jumping into the NBA draft.
The 6-foot-4, 205-pounder played outside his natural position because senior
was a point, sliding Holiday to the wing, and averaged 8.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.6 steals. He became Coach
best defensive stopper.
""I have a pretty good fit here with the Sixers,"" said Holiday, who opens training camp with the team Tuesday. ""With (point guard
gone, they've got some opportunities.""
A proven unselfish player and smart passer, Holiday sees his potential role in new Sixers coach
two-guard, pass-and-cut motion offense. Jordan had projected starting point guard
break from his offseason training in
Sixers coaches liked what they saw from Holiday in July in the
, Holiday's acquaintance from his Clippers days, is fully recovered from 2008-09 season-ending shoulder surgery. Former Bruins 3-point specialist
, who bumped Holiday from a locker when the six-year NBA veteran arrived at the training facility, is also on the team that hopes to return to its first NBA Finals since getting swept by the Lakers in 2001.
""I've been in the league for a minute,"" said Holiday, who has been mentored by four-year veteran Williams. ""Lou told me that he didn't play much his first year and that the most important things are to keep my head up and pay attention to what the coaches say.""
Holiday doesn't know the bench. He started all 35 games as a Bruins freshman and every game at Campbell Hall, where he became the 2008 Gatorade National Player of the Year.
The NBA has already taught Holiday that many decisions, from his playing time to getting traded, lie beyond his control. Getting picked 17th was a surprising welcome mat since mock drafts and draft-camp feedback had him expecting to be a lottery pick.
""I was a little disappointed that I didn't go high, but am happy,"" said Holiday, who has signed with the Sixers and, based on the NBA rookie pay scale, will make about
Holiday grew an inch since last year, packed on more muscle and spends the bulk of his time adapting to change.
He packed one bag and moved last month into a three-bedroom condo in
Holiday has a new Cadillac Escalade, ""a pearly white ride with matching rims that I got for my birthday,"" he said, but he hasn't driven much or ventured beyond the 5-mile radius from his condo to the Sixers' workout facility and the team's training camp site at
""(My brother) Justin and I were driving around a few weeks ago, looking at the old, brick buildings and the big, thick trees and thinking how strange everything is to us,"" he said. ""It was so different that we were joking that we expected King Kong to just jump out in the middle of the street.""
And they were in the suburbs.
Holiday can see
He played his final college game upon the Sixers' home court at Wachovia Center, where
But Holiday is working at making Philadelphia his new home. He awaits a moving truck with his belongings. All he has right now are some clothes, a few family pictures and a small part — 40 pairs — of his extensive shoe collection.
He can feel the seasons change. The leaves will begin to change colors and fall. The temperatures will drop — a big adjustment for a lifelong Southern Californian used to year-round sunshine, palm trees and the idea that sub-60-degree weather means it's time to bust out the goose-down anorak.
For now, the rookie Holiday is making due with an
(c) 2009, The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.).
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