Follow Bucknell Alum J.R. Holden at the Olympics
Aug. 5, 2008
LEWISBURG, Pa. -- Another unlikely chapter in the amazing basketball story of J.R. Holden unfolds later this week, when the Pittsburgh native and 1998 Bucknell graduate suits up for Team Russia at the Olympic Games in Beijing.
Holden's underdog career path is now well-documented. First, he transformed himself from a lightly recruited guard into a 1,300-point scorer and a two-time First Team All-Patriot League selection at the Division I level. Then, after going unwanted by the NBA, Holden launched a successful and lucrative overseas career that has taken him to Latvia, Belgium, Greece and Russia. He is now one of the top stars in European basketball, where he has led the powerful CSKA Moscow team to the 2006 Euroleague title, and as a naturalized Russian citizen, he nailed the game-winning jumper to give Russia the Eurobasket 2007 championship and a berth in the Olympics.
Early Sunday morning Holden, who is Russia's starting point guard, had 17 points and seven rebounds in an 89-68 loss to the United States in a pre-Olympic exhibition game. Among Holden's Russian teammates are Utah Jazz star Andrei Kirilenko and former Kansas Jayhawks center Sasha Kaun, who played against the Bison in Bucknell's memorable first-round upset in the 2005 NCAA Tournament.
Russia will compete in Group A at the Olympics (the U.S. is in Group B), and its first game in pool play will be at 9 p.m. (Eastern) on Saturday, Aug. 9 against Iran. See the list below for the full schedule of Russia's games. The Lithuania and Argentina games are scheduled for at least partial coverage in the United States on MSNBC. Additional games can be seen online at www.nbcolympics.com.
When Holden takes the floor in Beijing this weekend, he will become Bucknell's fourth Olympian. The first was Dave Morley, who swam for his native Bahamas in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. Cindy Ryder Matthes '88 competed for Team USA in rowing at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, while rower Brett Wilkinson '98 was also a member of Team USA at the 2004 Games in Athens.
Also of interest, former Bison coach Pat Flannery will be in Beijing for the Olympics as an invited guest of Holden.
Russia Olympic Basketball Schedule (all times Eastern, add 12 hours for Beijing time):
Important J.R. Holden links: