Bell-Holter coming from Alaskan home to C's camp

Bell-Holter coming from Alaskan home to C's camp
September 4, 2013, 10:00 am
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With all the games athletes play, it is impossible to know every person who is following along or watching. In the case of Damen Bell-Holter, a future NBA coach had been paying attention.

When it came time for newly hired Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens to put together his training camp roster, he looked back at his years on the sidelines at Butler University. A big man from Oral Roberts University had made an impression, and this month he received an invitation to participate in Celtics training camp for the upcoming 2013-14 season.  

"My agent said Brad Stevens, he was a college coach, had an idea and knew who I was," Bell-Holter told in a telephone interview. "That went a long way, I guess, having a coach knowing who I was. My agent said Brad said he wanted me there and they worked everything else out."

Bell-Holter will fly from his home state of Alaska on Wednesday night and meet with the Celtics on Thursday to begin a month of workouts prior to the start of training camp. The 6-9, 245lb. forward had recently returned from a three-week stint in Germany after opting out of his contract with Telekom Baskets Bonn, and the C's were the first team to extend an invitation. Bell-Holter, who was surprised Stevens knew of him, jumped at the call.

"It's just a great opportunity," he said. "The NBA is the NBA, so if I got the call from any team it'd be huge, but the Boston Celtics is a legendary franchise."

Bell-Holter describes himself as a hard-working player who uses his physicality and strength on the court. Last season he averaged 15.5 points, 9.4 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 1.3 blocks per game as a senior while earning NABC First Team All-District and First Team All-Southland Conference honors. The 23 year old cites Kevin Garnett as one of his favorite players growing up, admiring his intensity, and says his style of play is most similar to Glen Davis.

"I'm a good back-to-the-basket player," he said. "When I was in college I had to guard a lot of bigger guys, so I'm a physical player and I can shoot the basketball a lot. … The biggest thing (to succeeding in the NBA) is using my body, using my strength and guarding guys and making them doing things they're not accustomed to doing. I know who I am as a player and I can just go in and use my physicality as an advantage because I feel like I'm strong enough right now and I have a good (basketball) body. I don't really have expectations of my role, just whatever coach asks me to do is whatever I'm going to be doing."

Wednesday's flight to Boston won't be Bell-Holter's first trip to the area -- he attended prep school at the New Hampton School in New Hampshire. This time, though, there will be different sentiment upon arrival.

"I like Boston a lot," he said. "It's an unreal feeling to know I'm invited to Boston Celtics training camp."