Practice pays off for Bell-Holter (Basketball)
When a player goes through a sophomore slump it indicates he is failing to meet standards of his first year.
But when a sophomore triples his scoring average and doubles his rebounding average from his freshman season it indicates he is exceeding expectations.
That’s Damen Bell-Holter.
The 6-foot-10 center from Hydaburg has been a major bright spot for Oral Roberts University, especially over the last eight games when he has delivered three double-doubles and established career-highs in points (20) and rebounds (17).
“It feels good,” he told me. “My mindset has changed because this last stretch of games, coach (Sean) Sutton has wanted the ball in my hands late in the games and I have responded well. I’m getting double teams and it’s making things more of a challenge for me and I enjoy it. Teams are keying in on me and it is fun to attack their defenses.”
Bell-Holter, of Ketchikan High fame, has reached double figures in 10 of 13 games en route to raising his scoring average to a career-best 12.2 points. He is also grabbing 7.2 rebounds per game.
“The biggest thing for me has just been confidence and working on my game in my spare time,” he said. “I have a pretty wide variety of moves on the offensive end so I just really work on those in my individual workouts with my coach. Me and the coach that recruited me (Kyan Brown) spend a lot of time together working out and watching film to see what I can improve on.”
His practice has paid off in a big way this season.
He had his first career double-double against Texas Tech. He grabbed 17 rebounds against Missouri. And he scored 16 against Miami (Fla.), 18 against Utah and 20 against Rice.
At the recent Holiday Hoops Classic in Las Vegas, he was selected to the all-tournament.
“I rebounded, scored, passed the ball well and showed off my full package while making jumpers and stuff,” he said. “I’m really excited. There were NBA scouts there from what I heard so I picked a good time to play well.”
He had other incentive, too.
“My mom, aunt and sister came to watch me play,” he said. “They took me shopping and spent some quality time with them.”
His success hasn’t gone unnoticed in Southeast Alaska.
“My whole community is excited for me and what I’m achieving along with most of Ketchikan,” he said. “I’m all about representing where I came from and I think I’m doing a good job.”