Steve Alford on Indiana Pacers drafting Aaron Holiday: ‘We thought he would be gone by then’
UCLA men’s basketball head coach Steve Alford appeared Monday afternoon on The Dan Dakich Show to talk about the Indiana Pacers’ most recent first round pick, and Bruins product, Aaron Holiday.
Alford repeated what many have said and told host Dan Dakich he never thought the Pacers would have a shot at drafting Holiday. Every indication pointed to Holiday coming off the board earlier. But, now that the draft is over, all sides can focus on the season ahead.
Alford and Dakich, former Hoosiers and Bob Knight products, appreciate the attitude Holiday will bring to the Pacers in the locker room and on the court.
“If you look at his career (at UCLA), he started basically every game as a freshman and a junior and didn’t start as a sophomore and yet each year he got more and more efficient,” Alford said. “I just think it does speak to his unselfishness, it speaks to him buying into the team and doing what’s asked.”
Holiday was an efficient shooter and scorer for Alford’s Bruin squads and has garnered a lot of praise for his commitment to applying himself on the defensive end of the court. Alford said Holiday, who has two older brothers in the NBA, plays with a chip on his shoulder and wants to prove himself every night.
The third-team All-American, according to Sporting News, doesn’t take plays off.
“His leadership ability really went to another level this year,” Alford said.
Alford said the UCLA coaching staff pretty much knew Holiday would decide to go pro this year. One tough aspect of coaching in college is figuring out when athletes might make that decision, but after Holiday tested the waters last year, all signs pointed to this eventual conclusion.
A quality season at UCLA can propel anyone to a fun draft night.
“If you have any kind of season at all in Los Angeles and at UCLA it just seems like your marketability goes through the roof,” Alford said.