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A Basketball Family Holiday

When it comes to genes, Justin and Jrue Holiday of North Hollywood Campbell Hall rank as can’t-miss college prospects.

Their mother, Toya, was a two-time All-City Section basketball player at Granada Hills Kennedy and a Pacific 10 Conference freshman of the year at Arizona State. Their father, Shawn, was a 6-foot-4 guard at Arizona State.

If the boys ever received any teasing while growing up for not being able to beat their mother in a game of one-on-one, it probably didn’t bother them.

“I can still beat anybody,” Toya says.

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The boys beg to differ.

“She can’t beat me now,” Jrue said. “My dad can.”

Jrue, a 6-4 sophomore guard, is on his way to becoming one of the most gifted players in Southern California. Arizona Coach Lute Olson has dropped by twice to watch him. UCLA Coach Ben Howland is paying close attention.

All the Pac 10 schools know about him.

He is averaging 20.5 points, 7.6 rebounds and 6.6 assists for a team that had won 42 consecutive games until losses to Woodland Hills Taft and Los Angeles Dorsey last month.

“He has a great feel for the game,” Campbell Hall Coach Terry Kelly said. “He can go inside and outside.”

Said Taft Coach Derrick Taylor: “I thought he was one of the best players we’ve played against all year. He doesn’t get the publicity that other sophomores in the state get until you get on the floor and play against him and realize you can’t stop him.”

Holiday is part of the talented class of 2008 that includes USC-bound Malik Story of Lakewood Artesia, point guard Brandon Jennings of Compton Dominguez and point guard Larry Drew Jr. of Taft, all of whom rank among the best in the nation for their age group.

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“I’m working as hard as I can, whether it’s practice or a game,” Holiday said. “I try to create. I try not to be a ball hog. I look to create a shot for myself and maybe a wide open jumper for someone on the side or a nice pass for a layup.”

Justin Holiday is a 6-6 junior forward with improving skills. He averages 20 points and 10 rebounds and is capable of offensive outbursts; he scored 36 points last week against Santa Monica Crossroads.

And there’s two more basketball-playing Holiday siblings to reckon with. Their sister, Lauren, is a promising seventh-grader, and fourth-grader Aaron is already drawing rave reviews for his three-point shooting skills.

“He hits more threes than we do,” Kelly said.

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Toya is the girls’ basketball coach at Campbell Hall and comes from a family of six. Her husband is the youngest of 10. Guess what happens when family reunions take place?

“We go to the park and play,” Toya said.

The children in the Holiday family understand what sport they’re going to play.

“They have no choice,” Toya said. “They sit in a gym.”

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Not that the boys are complaining.

“I love it,” Jrue said. “I’ve been playing all my life. Sports is in my blood.”

Now, if only he can figure out how to beat his dad in a game of one-on-one.

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Eric Sondheimer can be reached at eric.sondheimer@latimes.com.


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