A silo for (mostly) all things UCLA Basketball past, present & future
Thursday, March 16, 2017
Aaron Holiday just an example of UCLA's family ties
mar 14, 2017 | mark Whicker |o.c. register | ARTICLE LINK
LOS ANGELES – Aaron Holiday was the fourth of four.
The footsteps were large and visible, all over the driveway in Chatsworth, where the hoop was.
Jrue played at UCLA and is now with the New Orleans Pelicans. Justin went to Washington and plays for the New York Knicks.
Lauren played basketball at UCLA until head injuries forced retirement.
Shawn and Toya, the dad and mom, both played basketball and taught it, but they also knew when it belonged in the closet, and when the books needed to come out of the backpack.
“I always knew how important school was,” Holiday said at Pauley Pavilion on Tuesday. “But my parents emphasized it, too. Occasionally, they’d come up with some threats. My mom would say, ‘Well, if you don’t want to do well at this school, we’ll find another one for you to go to.’ I didn’t want to go to another school. I took care of it.”
It is certainly not unusual for basketball to be the family business. But UCLA, headed to the NCAA Tournament in Sacramento on Friday, has a disproportionate number of villages.
There’s the Holiday village, in which everyone went to Campbell Hall, and Aaron is the sixth man and offensive B-12 shot for the Bruins, averaging 10.3 points and 31.7 minutes and shooting 41.3 percent from deep.
There’s the Hamilton village, in which senior Isaac is the current representative. Three of his brothers have played or are playing Division I basketball, from Miami to Texas to Connecticut, and Jordan is still in the NBA.
There’s the Alford village, in which Steve is the coach and Bryce is the senior leader and Kory is a former player and current video coordinator.
There’s the Welsh village, with Thomas as UCLA’s big man and lethal 12-foot shooter, and Henry a freshman at Harvard.
And, of course, there’s the Ball village, which is more like a nation-state, as Lonzo and Chino Hills High brothers LiAngelo and LaMelo anticipate 10-figure shoe deals and fight worldwide evil with their transformer basketballs.
Apparently LaVar Ball, the patriarch, didn’t get enough of a rise when he said Lonzo was better than Steph Curry, although ESPN’s Dan Dakich deftly observed that if Curry had been the Bruins’ point guard, they probably would have won the Pac-12.
Now LaVar is saying he would have beaten Michael Jordan one-on-one “in my heyday.”
This has caused loud, feigned consternation on TV talk-a-thons. Also great delight among their producers and ratings analysts.
And, true, it can inspire the opposition, although this is the NCAA Tournament, and you figure inspiration is sort of automatic.
But the Ball siblings know their dad and his grandiosity. They have thrived under his pressure. Lonzo had more trouble with an aching thumb last Friday, against Arizona, than with LaVar’s proverbial foam finger.
His game is sturdy enough to withstand all this. “He’s built to win,” said Steve Alford, unwittingly paraphrasing the “Built For This” family slogan.
All these concentric circles are a plus for UCLA, all the watchful, tough support. They also provided built-in competition. One hoop was up at the end of the Holidays’ driveway, and another was up at the end of a neighbor’s driveway, for a 94-foot-or-so look.
Shawn played at Arizona State and Cal State L.A. Toye was the Pac-12 Player of the Year at Arizona State and also played at U.S. International.
He worked at FedEx until it came time to manage his sons. “He works out players,” Aaron said. “He still coaches me, but not just in basketball.”
The Holiday village, like all the others, huddles close to Westwood. Most weekends, Aaron goes home and attends Shepherd of the Hills Church at Porter Ranch, where he and his siblings host a summer camp and an all-star game that has featured NBA players like Paul George and Reggie Jackson.
“It’s nice to go back and get away for a little while,” he said. “Faith was a big part of it growing up, something we still talk about.”
The faith was tested this year when Jrue’s wife Lauren, who helped the U.S. soccer team win the World Cup, had a brain tumor removed last fall, a month after she gave birth to a daughter, Jrue Tyer.
The circles all closed around the Holidays and the crisis has apparently passed.
The Bruins may have a lot of travel in their immediate future. Fortunately, they bring their own bandwagon.