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Just as the mighty CSKA Moscow were eliminated from the Euroleague, meaning the end of the Russian basketball giants’ eight-year Final Four fun, JR Holden returns to heinnews to discuss CSKA’s poor start to the season; who’s to blame (or not) for the team’s lack of success; what was his toughest Euroleague season; and about his up-coming book “Blessed Footsteps”.

Hello everyone! I know it has been a long time since I last checked in with you all, but I am back and I hope to check in more often than I have the past year or so.  A lot has taken place this season.  Most fans are surprised at our slow start and struggles this season.  To most, CSKA is never expected to struggle this much.  And although there are several factors that contributed to our start, I am not one to try and push blame on anyone or anywhere. Yes, we lost some very winnable games and adjusting to a new coach, a new system/style of play, and injuries to some of our main guys had something to do with the losses; but overall, no name, no blame. WE lost together as a unit.  There are many reasons why a team struggles but the best teams keep fighting and working to get back their winning ways.  I am proud to say, our team is doing that.  Personally, I could never blame anyone or look any further than myself when it comes to losing.  I feel bad that Coach … was fired.  To some, he might have failed, but make no mistake about it, we failed him as well.  Maybe if we played an NBA schedule and had 82 games to grow as a team and adjust to a new system everyone would have been better off.  But this is the way it goes.  This is the life of a professional coach and a professional ball player at CSKA.  Success and team play is a must, without it, you won’t be at this club very long.  We have moved on and at the moment we are playing good basketball.

People ask me what are my feelings in regard to not playing in my 9th consecutive final four or any other chance at making history and my reply is pretty much the same; I am not big on stats, making history and all that.  I have been a part of history, good and bad at CSKA.  I would have loved to play in the Top 16 this season but it wasn’t in the cards for me.  Everyone ask me is this the toughest Euroleague season that I have been a part of?  I have to give you an emphatic, NO.  I play every season to get to the Final Four and win a championship.  I know that it takes a lot of hard work and a little luck.  Making it to the Final Four is not enough for me.  I want to win it all.  My toughest Euroleague season was losing the Final Four in Moscow.  We had such a great team and a great season that year.  We set a record for wins in a row and all that good stuff.  However, one big loss at the wrong time erased all the work and great things we had done all season.  So, winning a championship is the ultimate goal, anything less is what it is, another season I didn’t accomplish my ultimate goal, a championship.

Off the court, life has been a lot of fun and full of surprises.  I am enjoying fatherhood and watching my (Little Princess) daughter get big.  It’s amazing seeing her grow into her own little self, developing her own personality and finding out what she does and doesn’t like.  She is probably teaching me more about me than I am teaching her.  She is my heart and I am truly blessed to be a father.

jr-holden-blessedI am also a published author.  I have a memoir out called “Blessed Footsteps”.  It is an inside look at my life as a youngster and my journey as a professional athlete.  It provides the reader a chance to see a rare side of a professional athlete. I talk about the challenges I faced as a foreigner playing throughout Europe, and growing as a player and man while finding out that I had adopted a new life (and family) as I began settling in Moscow. THIS IS SO NOT JUST A BASKETBALL BOOK! I believe it’s a very good read and even if you’re not a basketball fan you’ll love and appreciate the story.  It has been picked up by bookstores worldwide starting 1/11/11, but can be purchased anytime on my website. So go and get your copy and let me know how you think I’ve done as a writer.

That’s pretty much all I have for now, but again, I hope to writing to you more often! This is JR Holden signing off, and remember to “Play Ball”!

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