The KJ Comparison: U of A Coach compares ASU's Holder to Suns legend

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ASU senior Tra Holder reminds Arizona Coach Sean Miller of Suns legend Kevin Johnson. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) ASU senior Tra Holder reminds Arizona Coach Sean Miller of Suns legend Kevin Johnson. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
ASU senior Tra Holder scored 31 points in a loss to Arizona. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) ASU senior Tra Holder scored 31 points in a loss to Arizona. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

Tra Holder scored 31 points against Arizona on Saturday night. It wasn't enough for ASU to avoid its first loss of the season, but Holder's play certainly caught the attention of Arizona Coach Sean Miller.

"I'm trying to think who he reminds me of," said Miller.

"He almost like Kevin Johnson, who played for the Phoenix Suns. He just has the ability with incredible ball handling and quickness.  The way the team is set up, man he's a the rim."

That's high praise from an unlikely source. Miller would know, a former point guard at Pittsburgh.

Miller added that he hasn't seen a guy as good at getting fouled, calling Holder "a monster" in the paint.

Holder is held to a high standard with his own coach, Duke legend Bobby Hurley.

"He's great at his body control," says Hurley, who lead Duke to National Championships in 1991 and 1992.

"He's very crafty in the paint, figuring out a way to get contact and to get defenders off balance."

Four years before Holder was even born, Hurley helped orchestrate one of the biggest upsets in college basketball history. Hurley's Blue Devils stunned the defending National Champion UNLV Runnin' Rebels in the Final Four. Holder sees playing for Hurley as an honor.

"It's great. I know a lot of kids want to be in my position," said Holder, a Los Angeles native. "I'm going to keep fighting for him and try to make him proud."

Holder has seen his game go to new heights under Hurley. The Sun Devils senior scored 31 points and attempted 16 free throws against Arizona.

Holder knows that he still has a lot of work to do if he wants to get ASU to the place where Hurley got Duke.

"His grit and will to win," said Holder, when asked what he takes from watching old Hurley clips on YouTube.  "He was a blue collar player and that's something I'd like to be like."

Holder says he like to improve his defensive leadership and communication the rest of the season. The Sun Devils are back in action on Thursday night at Utah.

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