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Husky Men's Basketball

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September 20, 2010 at 2:58 PM

Justin Holiday: “I’m a leader vocally and I lead by example”

Photo credit: Seattle Times – Mark Harrison
Had a chance to connect briefly with senior forward Justin Holiday (above) who talked about being elected co-captain, Washington’s goals in training camp and how he matured from a role player to a starter.
He’s one of UW’s rising stars who averaged 0.7 points as a freshman, 2.1 as a sophomore and 5.9 as a junior. He’s improved in virtually every other statistic as well including rebounding (1.3, 2.5 and 4.5), total assists (8, 43 and 62) and steals (4, 15 and 34).
Holiday became a starter midway in the 2009-10 season, which sparked a midseason turnaround for the Huskies. Coach Lorenzo Romar called him the defensive captain last season and he was chosen to the five-man Pac-10 All-Defensive Team.
Holiday also played big on the big games. He averaged 9.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 2.0 blocks and 2.7 steals in 27.3 minutes in the NCAA tournament. He also .shot 58.5 percent from the field (10 for 17) and was second on the team with 6.3 rpg during the Pac-10 Tournament.
(What did you do this summer?) “Worked out with my brother and worked out with people down in California. I actually went to an adidas camp in Chicago for a couple of days.”
(Was this summer different from past summers?) It was most definitely different from last summer because I couldn’t do anything last summer. [Holiday had surgery last summer to correct a sports hernia, which caused him to miss the first few days of fall practice.] And it was different from the summers when I was here during summer school. But it was real productive. I was here for the first half of summer, so I got school out of the way. But I was still able to go home and take care of some working out. So I did a lot.”
(What did you work on specifically?) “Pretty much improving my shooting and ball handling of course. Just my offensive feel of the game. Make sure I’m feeling comfortable in that area. Improving my strength, my speed and my jumping.”
(How do you feel about being elected a co-captain?) “I just thought it’s time to lead a little more than (I) usually do. I see myself as a leader. Not in a cocky way or anything, it’s just the personality that I have. I was a leader in high school and I think I’m prepared to be a leader here, especially with Isaiah (Thomas) because I love playing with Isaiah. Having us doing that I think it’s a good thing. That’s not saying other people couldn’t be leaders also, but we’re going to take that and do the best we can with it.”
(What kind of leader are you?) “I’m a leader vocally and I lead by example. I feel like there’s certain times when you need to say something to people about certain things and there’s certain ways to do it. If I find I have to get on somebody, I will. But at the same time mostly I’ll start by leading by example. Just how I go about doing things on the floor. There’s a lot of stuff I still need to work on also. By no means am I perfect.”
(What do you envision for the season?)

“A team that’s pretty much similar to last year. Maybe a little bit more up and down. We’re going to be in condition. That’s just how we are. Fast paced. Hopefully we can be a little more highlights than usually. Of course, we’re going to get stops. That’s our No. 1 goal, stopping the other team and that’s always going to be there.”
(What are some early goals?) “It’s defining roles early and everybody being comfortable and knowing exactly what we need to do way earlier than last year. It seemed like it took us awhile for each player to figure out who’s going to be where. And even as far as coaching, the lineups where switching all the time. So I think if we can get that down earlier, knowing what we want to do maybe even before a couple of games into the season, then I think the way we play and how well we do can come a little earlier than last year.”
(Are roles being defined now while you’ve got this time before the first official practice?) “I think they are, but at the same time a lot of people have gone back and worked on a lot of different things and have come back more confident in doing other things. Obviously after what we went through last year, that’s already in effect, but at the same time a lot of us haven’t been together for awhile. Having practices before the season is great because I think we’ll be better off.”
(What happened with you last year and how did you elevate your game?) “Just the way I always thought about the game is do whatever I can to win. I guess at certain times last year, I had to score a little more and showing different things like that was what it took for us to win.”
(What will fans see differently from you this season?) “I’m sure they’re going to see a lot more scoring. A lot more offensive capabilities than usual. Defense is going to be there. I’m always going to do that. Make sure that’s the first thing. I know and my teammates know we have to stop people to win. If you stop them from scoring to me that’s even more than half the battle because we’re going to get points. We have the firepower on our team to where that’s going to happen.”



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