Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
In a story we were first to break earlier this month, Damen Bell-Holter, from tiny Hydaburg, Alaska will be attending Celtics training camp. Bell-Holter, who’s been in the Boston area for about the last two weeks, did a Q & A session with NDNSports over the weekend. He comes off as an incredibly humble young man who is very grateful for the chance to play for a storied organization like the Boston Celtics.
NDNSPORTS: How are (you) doing and how long have you been back stateside since coming back from the Germany professional team?
DBH: It’s going good, I mean I have been out here almost two weeks, just working out with the (Celtics) team and at the gym lifting and just getting used to this. It’s been pretty cool.
NDNSPORTS: Have you thought about what it would be like to be a part of one of the biggest franchises in all of sports?
DBH: I am trying to focus on working hard every day, staying in the gym and being a good locker room guy. I am just doing all of the small things-if they are looking for character I have good character, so I am just going to keep working hard but to just have the opportunity to be in this environment to be a part of something like this, it is pretty amazing. Like I said, it’s the Celtics and it’s huge, people don’t realize it’s an uphill battle to get to a situation like this. But I’ve been talking to people and I have told them if I make it, it’s really going to change my life forever. It’s going to change the people in my community lives forever. That’s why I am pushing so hard.
The “community” Bell-Holter speaks of is Hydaburg, Alaska-population approx. 380. Damen says that growing-up there he witnessed alcoholism and drug addiction, but despite it being a tough environment, he wouldn’t have wanted to grow-up “anywhere else.” One of the main reasons he’s so excited about this opportunity is the hope he says it will give to other Native American kids. He’s overwhelmed with the outpouring of support he’s received since the camp invite & says it makes him want to “work harder”.
NDNSPORTS: There has been an out pouring of support for you on the internet, what does that mean to you?
DBH: I mean it has been awesome, I’ve had a good support system from college but just the response it has been getting I mean more and more people have been finding out about my opportunity. I just think it is going to open doors for all native kids and all the kids that are small because if they see a kid like me coming out a little village they might say I have an opportunity to get off the reservation. It gets me really emotional because I come from a small little town and now I am in a locker room with NBA players, it’s not supposed to be like that. It’s just been pretty cool for people to reach out to me and I really love the support and appreciate it. It just makes me want to work harder.
As I stated when I first read about Bell-Holter, I’m really pulling for this kid. This kind of humility & character and his eagerness to learn and work hard can be very hard to find these days. His pure awe at the great franchise that is the Boston Celtics, and his desire to truly bring some hope to the kids of his small town are special. Check out the rest of his interview with NDNSports for more. Also, here’s vid of his monster 25 pt, 20 reb game vs NW State last season.
The rest of the links:
UMass Athletics: Brad Stevens To Host Breakfast At TD Garden