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Aaron Holiday quietly continues to lead UCLA basketball

By in Press Enterprise on February 9, 2018

By Thuc Nhi Nguyen

TUCSON, Ariz. — Aaron Holiday’s expression remained blank. He didn’t twitch a muscle when asked what he thought about being left off the late-season top-20 watch list for the John Wooden Award.

“I don’t care,” the junior guard said flatly after UCLA knocked off Arizona on Thursday in Tucson.

When the latest watch list for the prestigious award was released Monday, Holiday didn’t make the cut after being included on the midseason top-25 list in January, despite leading the Pac-12 in scoring in conference play with 20.6 points per game.

With UCLA enduring an international shoplifting scandal and the growing pains of a young team, Holiday has the Bruins (17-7, 8-4 Pac-12) tied for second in the Pac-12. They’re hoping to push their winning streak to five against Arizona State at 4 p.m. Saturday in Tempe.

The junior from Chatsworth has led the Bruins in scoring in 17 of their 24 games this season, including Thursday’s upset over the No. 13 Wildcats when he had 17 points and eight assists to two turnovers. He had has eight or more assists in three consecutive games, leads the conference in minutes played per game (37) and often guards the opposing team’s best scorer on defense.

On Thursday, he kept Arizona’s Allonzo Trier without a single trip to the foul line after Trier entered with a Pac-12-leading 151 free-throw attempts.

“People, they don’t give him enough credit,” head coach Steve Alford said of Holiday. “He does everything for us offensively, but then, oh by the way, whoever the star guard on the other team, it’s going to be Holiday’s matchup and once again he was terrific tonight there.”

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