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John Holland | "You must still believe in yourself, have confidence, work to improve your game and skills every day. Playing overseas isn’t going to be easy."

John Holland is one of the most accomplished players to ever suit up for the Boston University men’s basketball team, a Terrier forward from 2007 to 2011. As a senior he took home America East Player of the Year and Associated Press All-America Honourable Mention honours, and finished his BU career with 2,212 career points, the seventh-most all-time in America East .

Holland, New York born who has stints in Russia, Israel, France, Spain and Turkey. While also playing for the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers.

What has been your favourite moment during your career?

I’ve had a lot of favourite moments but winning the America East tournament and going to the NCAA tournament in my senior year was great. It was a great ending to my college career.

Also, when I got called up to the Boston Celtics in 2016. That was a special moment for me.

How was playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers and the NBA?

Playing with the Cavs and in the NBA was and is special. First the NBA is acknowledged as being the highest level of basketball in the world. That’s nearly every player’s lifelong dream and goal. Getting there validates you for life, as a superior player in the world amongst great players from all over. It’s like a badge of achievement in your sport. I played alongside Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose, Kyle Korver, Kevin Love and JR Smith, a team full of legends and all-stars. I’m leaving so many of them out, Isiah Thomas, Tristan Thompson, I could go on and on. While I was there, I learned from the best that you must continue to work, work and even work harder on your game every day.

With a lot of NBA prospects going overseas to play basketball instead of going to college, how does the game differ from college?

Whether a player goes overseas or plays in the NBA it makes no difference in how they should have a solid work ethic. You must still believe in yourself, have confidence, work to improve your game and skills every day. Playing overseas isn’t going to be easy. Those guys can play too, and at every level. Israel, Spain, France, Greece, Italy Serbia, Russia, Turkey just to name few countries have top grade talent. Their teams are filled with former NBA players, National, international and Olympic calibre basketball players.

They are paid well and most start playing pro from grade school and are very experienced. So, don’t think you’re playing against some random amateurs. Those guys are tough, hardnosed, and good. They are usually more advanced than college players because it’s how they make a living. They don’t study to earn degree or a diploma. Their main subject is basketball. They dedicate themselves to being the best from an early age. They are young, skilled, smart professional players who get paid to play.

Being one of the most accomplished players in Boston University’s history, how was your time there?

Some of my best basketball memories are from my time at Boston U. I loved it. I had great coaches that recognized my skill and allowed me to develop. My teammates are still some of my best friends to this day. My time there was truly special.

What advice could you give to the next generation Basketball players to help them in the future and to work on?

I don’t usually give advice. I just tell my experiences and let people draw their own conclusions. So, I would let upcoming players know that it’s their decision as to how they approach their future. Do they work every day to improve their game and skills? Do they put the time in working on fundamentals like footwork, conditioning, diet, rest? Also shooting, ball handling, passing. Are they confident in their shooting? Can they use both hands? Do they play tight defence without fouling out? Basketball is a complex sport with many parts, and you must be capable in each part to be an above average player. You must be consistent and work every day towards perfection. There is no other way to become an elite world class player in the NBA or anywhere else. You must dedicate yourself both on and off the court. Just stay in the now, be grateful, stay positive and enjoy your career and your life.


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