Holiday brothers embrace chance to be teammates

Holiday brothers embrace chance to be teammates

April 1, 2013, 8:00 pm

Jrue and Justin Holiday were reunited on the court Monday morning at the Sixers’ practice facility.

The Sixers signed Justin Holiday, who is a year and two months older than Jrue, for the remainder of the regular season.

The two brothers may be similar in appearance but bring different skill sets to the basketball court.

“He is a defender. Very long, has a lot of length, very athletic, so I guess the opposite of me, right,” Jrue Holiday said of his sibling. “He can shoot the ball well. He knocks down open shots and he can pass. He does a little bit of everything, but he defends really well.”

“I think I am a guy who can play on both sides of the floor,” Justin Holiday said. “I can help, especially defensively, and on the offensive side of the floor I can knock down an open shot after my brother is penetrating and kicking and feeding the post.”

It has been more than four years since the Holidays shared the hardwood in an official setting and that was when they faced each other in a college game. Jrue Holiday and his UCLA Bruins faced off against Justin Holiday and the Pac 12 foe Washington Huskies.

The two have to go back even further to reach a point in time when they were teammates. The brothers last played together in high school when they went 33-1 with Campbell Hall High in California. They helped their team capture the California Division IV state championship.

Justin Holiday was a senior on that team with Jrue a year behind him. By that time, the two had put any sibling rivalry to the side to lead their team to ultimate success.

“It definitely started off as a battle,” Jrue Holiday said. “We would end games, obviously, fighting and one person crying and going inside. But that stopped when we went to high school, when we started focusing in. When we would then play one-on-one, we played with our best friends, even some guys who are in the league now, and play one-on-one to seven and just rotate in. All the fighting stopped when we matured.”

Since those days Jrue Holiday has matured into an All-Star just four years into his NBA career. His brother went undrafted in 2011 following his four-year collegiate career.

Last year, Justin Holiday played overseas before joining the Sixers’ roster for the Orlando Pro Summer League.

Justin Holiday spent this season in the D-League and was the overall leader in steals. In 47 games of which 42 were starts, he averaged 17 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.4 steals per game.

“It was a grind, but at the end of the day I was playing the sport I love. That was my job,” Justin Holiday said. “You get to go out every day and just continue to work. You have this dream in front of you and if you want that what are you going to do, just stop and not make it? It was a grind, but at the same time I loved my experience.”

Justin Holiday intends to enjoy this 17-day NBA experience just as much.

It helps that when playing for the Sixers this past summer in Orlando the team got a feel for Justin Holiday’s skills. He led the Sixers’ summer league squad with 11.8 points per game.

“He reminds me a little of Michael Cooper who played for the Lakers,” Sixers head coach Doug Collins said. “This summer his defense was very good off the ball and he had a very good awareness of being able to get in and help on the weak side. He is really quick and has really long arms and his shooting has improved. Hopefully we get a chance to see him here at the end of the year and hopefully have him for the summer.”

“They have a great coaching staff,” Justin Holiday said. “That is the one thing that I loved about this team. Their coaching staff played the game and that is what I liked most about this team.”

The organization did call Jrue Holiday into a meeting before adding his older brother to the roster just to make sure all would be OK. The All-Star assured that everything would be fine.

“We were going to bring him (Justin) to training camp and you start thinking about if you have to let the guy go how does that affect Jrue because that is his brother,” Collins said. “But Jrue was very, very excited, so it will be fun.”