Mixed feelings for Collins family as Doug watches Chris' last game with Duke

Justin Holiday
Justin Holiday
Posted: April 03, 2013

SUNDAY WAS a bittersweet day for 76ers coach Doug Collins, none of it having to do with his basketball team.

Collins was at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis to watch as his son, Chris, sat on the bench for the final time as the associate head coach of the Duke Blue Devils, who were ousted from the tournament by the Louisville Cardinals in the Midwest Regional final.

The younger Collins played four seasons for coach Mike Krzyzewski and was on the bench with him in a coaching capacity for another 13 years. He will be the head coach at Northwestern next season, his first head coaching stint. To see his son leave the place that allowed him this opportunity was both sad and rewarding for Doug Collins.

"It was important for me," Doug Collins said. "I went to his first game when he played and I went down there [Sunday] with two things in mind; had they won, to be able to give him a hug and send him to another Final Four; if not I wanted to be there for his last game at Duke when he walked off the court. We had a little moment where we could see each other as he walked off the court and I said it was interesting how life works.

"Here's a 38-year-old young man walking into a new life and the excitement that goes with that. He's obviously ready, but I'm sure a million things were going through his mind with all the incredible experiences he had at Duke - going there as a player and sitting next to Coach K and all the wonderful teammates he's had and the ACC championships and national championships and being part of the world championships and two gold medals - that's pretty amazing, being 38 years old and to have had all that happen in your life. He's going back to Chicago where he spent a lot of his youth and he's excited about trying to build something there at Northwestern."

Sitting with Doug at the game was Chris' son, Ryan. When the gruesome injury to Louisville's Kevin Ware occurred, it really hit home for the Collins family. Over the past few years, Ryan, 10, has suffered two serious broken legs. They didn't see exactly what happened to Ware, and there was no replay shown - and Collins told his grandson to refrain from looking at one.

Another Holiday

While there were mixed feeling for the Collins family, there was nothing but happiness resonating from the Holiday clan. On Monday, the Sixers made it official, announcing the signing of swingman Justin Holiday, the older brother of point guard Jrue.

Justin, who turns 24 on Friday, was impressive playing for the team in the Orlando Summer League in July. He didn't make the roster, however, and spent 47 games in the NBA Development League with the Idaho Stampede, where he averaged 17.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.4 steals.

He is considered a prime defensive player out of the University of Washington who went undrafted after his senior season.

"It hadn't really kicked in until I got here to practice today," said Justin, 6-6, 185 pounds. "I'm really excited to be here, especially to play with my brother and be with this good organization, and hopefully I can help out. They have a great coaching staff, that was the one thing I liked most about this team. They have coaches who played and understand the game, and that's the main thing I like the most about this squad."

Well, besides the guy who wears No. 11 and has the same last name.

"I'm just really happy for him and excited," said Jrue Holiday, 22. "He's a defender, long and athletic. So I guess kind of the opposite of me. He can shoot the ball well, passes the ball well. So I guess he does a little bit of everything, but I think what he does best is he defends really well. My praying paid off; I've been praying all season."

Honoring title team

The Sixers will honor their 1982-83 championship team when they host the Cleveland Cavaliers on April 14.

On Twitter: @BobCooney76

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