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Jrue Holiday

Jrue Holiday

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What's this?Please select....Baseball TicketsNBA TicketsNFL TicketsNASCAR TicketsWWE TicketsGolf TicketsTennis Tickets 76ers take UCLA guard Holiday in first roundPosted | Comment | Recommend E-mail | Save | Print | By Dan Gelston, AP Sports WriterPHILADELPHIA — It's a happy Holiday in Philadelphia.Projected as a likely 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 on Thursday night.The teenage guard believes he's ready to make an immediate contribution."Honestly, I see myself as an impact player," Holiday said.

"Any time I step on the floor, I'm going to be there and contribute to the team.

That's my expectation for myself, to come in and impact the game as soon as possible."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.The 19-year-old Holiday told the Sixers he was a point guard."I'm most definitely a point guard," he said.

"I can distribute the ball.

I can lock up on defense.

I see myself as a point guard."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."I think people didn't really see his point guard skills at UCLA," Sixers vice president Tony DiLeo said.

"He wants to play point guard.

He wants to make people around him better."He was welcomed to the team via a Twitter post by Sixers forward Andre Iguodala."Jrue is only 18, will be a beast," Iguodala tweeted.

"kinda like dwade a little bit...nobody heard of dwade earlier in his college career either."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."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 pick."At times it was frustrating, but again it was something new and a new experience," Holiday said.

"It was definitely something that helped my game.

We can have two point guards in the backcourt.

I know where to go to set up.

I know where to be for the point guard to hit me.

I don't need the ball to help the team."DiLeo said the Sixers interviewed Holiday at the draft combine, but he did not work out for the team because he was considered a top-10 pick.

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 Rivals.com."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.Villanova forward Dante Cunningham was the first player out of the six city schools to be drafted.

Cunningham, 6-8, 230 pounds, was picked in the second round and 33rd overall by the Portland Trail Blazers.Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

All rights reserved.

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http://www.usatoday.com/sports/basketball/nba/2009-06-25-1756979440_x.htm
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