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Chasing a Record

B-ball Terrier John Holland could top 2,000 points

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John Holland drives to the basket in the Terriers’ 58-37 victory over Marist earlier this season. Photo by Steve McLaughlin

John Holland is that rare scorer in BU basketball history. The senior player sits just 104 points shy of 2,000 career points, a feat only one other Terrier—Tunji Awojobi (CAS’97), with 2,308 points—has ever accomplished. Holland (CGS’09, COM’11) leads the America East conference with 18.8 points per game, as well as 48 three-pointers. His performance has provided the offensive key to the Terriers’ victory in three of their last four games.

“I think everybody’s focusing on him,” says men’s basketball head coach Patrick Chambers.

Despite such scrutiny, Holland remains unfazed. He has the ability essential to all great scorers: he can put a missed shot out of his mind.

“You have to have a short memory in the game, and the confidence to keep shooting,” Holland says. “You always have to think the next one’s gonna go in.”

Chambers says Holland’s ability to shrug off missed shots this season shows his growth as a player. He also points to Holland’s versatility as a scorer as something that sets him apart. In last Saturday’s victory against Albany, he scored 27 points by hitting 50 percent of his shots, six of them three-pointers. That performance earned him his sixth America East men’s basketball Player of the Week honor.

But in a win over Vermont on January 9, Holland made 15 of his 24 points from the free-throw line, driving through the lanes over and over again, drawing contact, and putting the Catamounts in foul trouble.

The 6-foot-5-inch Holland plays forward and guard, demonstrating both a shooting guard’s ability to move without the ball and camp in the corners and a small forward’s ability to dribble into the lane, draw fouls, and hit jump-shots.

Born in the Bronx, the 22-year-old grew up in an apartment in the Co-op City neighborhood. He developed a passion for basketball as a child from his father, John Holland, Sr., who played basketball as an undergraduate at Iona College.

Holland has played competitively since the sixth grade. He was a star player at Fordham Preparatory School in the Bronx, and then played at St. Benedict’s Preparatory School in Newark, N.J., where he did a postgraduate year. He says he picked St. Benedict’s because of the school’s strong basketball program and competition, figuring it would improve his game and national profile and increase his chances for a scholarship.

When it came time to select a college, Holland chose BU, not just for its basketball program, he says, but for its academic strengths and location. Boston is a good fit for him—far enough away from New York City, but not too far from home, he says.

Holland’s mother, Diana Mills-Holland, and his father are retired schoolteachers, a profession Holland says he has considered. He credits his parents with instilling in him a strong commitment to academics. He works hard at his classes, but says it can be tiring trying to balance his schoolwork with the rigors of being a varsity basketball player.

“It’s basketball 24/7 most of the time,” Holland says.

The College of Communication senior is majoring in public relations, which along with psychology he’s always found fascinating. “Learning how to interact with people and companies to try and get your message across in different ways has always interested me,” he says, and he’s found that his major has improved his own communication skills.

On the court, Holland wears number 23, the same number as legendary Chicago Bulls’ player Michael Jordan. His favorite NBA player is not Jordan, though, but the Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade. He admires Wade for “how aggressive he is, how he attacks the basket.” Holland, who leads the Terriers in steals (26) and is just the 10th player in America East history to score 1,800 points and grab 600 rebounds, says he tries to emulate Wade’s aggressiveness, both offensively and defensively.

Like most competitive athletes, Holland doesn’t spend too much time thinking about the future, whether it’s a job after graduating, playing in the NBA, or having his name hanging from the rafters of the Case Gymnasium.

“The main goal is winning,” he says. And his answer to being asked about his chances of playing professionally: “I’d be happy if I could play anywhere.”

“He has the tools and the athletic ability and the work ethic to at least get a chance,” Chambers says. “There’s no question in my mind he can play overseas and make some good money.”

In Chambers’ two years with the Terriers, he says, he has seen Holland grow from a “gym rat” to someone who plays with “a sense of urgency, a sense of pride in the uniform across his chest.”

The Terriers take on the Stony Brook Seawolves tomorrow, Thursday, January 20, at 7:30 p.m., at the Case Gymnasium, 285 Babcock St. Purchase tickets here.

Matt Goisman can be reached at mgoisman@bu.edu.

1 Comments

One Comment on Chasing a Record

  • Anonymous on 01.19.2011 at 11:34 am

    The Terriers should dominate the A East. Let’s win the tourney this year!

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