Sixers Pick Guard Jrue Holiday in NBA Draft

Tagged as a lottery pick after leaving high school rated as the No. 1 point guard prospect in the country, UCLA guard Jrue Holiday was selected by the Philadelphia 76ers with the 17th pick in the NBA draft.

Sixers president Ed Stefanski said he would select a guard and found a needed addition to the backcourt in the 6-foot-4, 199-pound Holiday. Holiday left the Bruins after only one season and mostly played out of position at shooting guard.

Holiday told the Sixers he was a point guard.

"I think people didn't really see his point guard skills at UCLA," Sixers vice president Tony DiLeo said on Thursday night. "He wants to play point guard. He wants to make people around him better."

Holiday could find an immediate spot in the rotation if the Sixers can't re-sign unrestricted free-agent guard Andre Miller. They also lack a true shooting guard and were the worst 3-point shooting team in the NBA.

Holiday averaged 8.5 points and 3.7 assists as UCLA's shooting guard last year and was selected to the conference's all-freshman team. He started all 35 games while helping the Bruins to a 26-9 record and a second-place finish in the Pac-10.

He was welcomed to the team via a Twitter post by Sixers forward Andre Iguodala.

The Sixers had only one scheduled pick in Thursday night's draft.

DiLeo, who finished last season as the Sixers coach, said Philadelphia tried to move up in the draft and weren't necessarily done making moves.

"We're still a work in progress as a team and we're still going to try and do some things," he said.

Holiday has a reputation as a solid ballhandler who keeps defenders off balance. He was paired in the backcourt at UCLA with Darren Collison. Collison, who worked out for the 76ers, was picked by New Orleans as the 21st overall pick.

DiLeo said Holiday did not work out with the Sixers because he was considered a top-10 pick. The Sixers did interview Holiday at the draft combine. Holiday told the Sixers he wanted to play like Deron Williams of the Utah Jazz.

"We were unanimous as a staff that he if was there, we would take him," DiLeo said.

Holiday was the 2008 Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year as a senior at Campbell Hall High School in California. As a senior, he averaged 25.9 points, 11.2 rebounds, 6.9 assists and 4.8 steals and was rated the No. 1 point guard and the No. 2 overall prospect in the Class of 2008 by

"He has great upside, displays aggressiveness on both ends of the court, has a great nose for the ball as well as the size and strength to play both guard positions," Stefanski said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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