Oct. 13, 2003
Once upon a time, Jamie Holmes (along with the Santa Clara coaches) wondered if he'd ever play again after numerous knee problems. However, with some grit, he became an all-conference player and key member of a squad that came within three points of the NCAA tournament. Now, he's wearing wooden Nike's overseas in Holland after winning a national championship in Australia.
Following a 21-5 regular season, Holmes' Mount Gambier team entered the playoffs as the number one seed and beat arch rival Ballarat by 10 in the first round. Ballarat would work its way through the loser's bracket to get another shot, only to fall by 14, giving Mount Gambier its first ever conference championship.
Jamie would score 40 points in the semis to lead his team to the national finals as the number one seed and after 2 wins had to play Ballarat again, this time in a one game "brawl for it all." However, the third time wasn't the charm for Ballarat, getting a 15-point spanking as the national championship went to Mount Gambier. Holmes made the ABA All-Star Five, averaging just under 27 points and 13 rebounds a game.
"Jake (former Bronco star Jason Sedlock) and the guys had been out here trying to win it all for a few years now and to come out and get it done was awesome. The community really got behind us and showed us tremendous support, it was just an all around amazing experience."
Networking is big part of the college experience and for Holmes that has been the case. Jason Sedlock has been a successful player in Australia and connected with Holmes on a traveling squad that played exhibitions against college teams.
"When a few deals fell through for the 2002-2003 season in Europe, I decided I couldn't afford to take a full year off and contacted Jake, whose season is in the opposite time of the year. He put me in contact with the club.
"Playing with Jake has been great. He works so hard every time he steps on the court; he really is an inspiration. Jake does all those little things so I can concentrate on shooting." For fans that never saw him play, Jamie could barely jump over a quarter and despite a lack of foot speed, has a knack for getting off shots around the rim. He credits the lessons learned from his former coach.
"Dick Davey really helped me to focus on the game and stay concentrated the whole time. He's so tough minded it just rubs off on the players."
He plans on playing as long as his body holds up and admits that playing year-round is tough on his knees. Some inspiration comes from former Bronco teammate Todd Wuschnig who reinforces that working 9-to-5 is highly overrated.
"I am not too sure what I want to get into when I am done playing. I'm banking on Wushnig making it big in his commercial real estate gig, then I can just step in and become a partner. If that fails, I would like to try my hand at coaching and teaching."