Shaheen Holloway and his Saint Peter men’s basketball team are the talk of the sports world right now, as they’ve knocked off Kentucky, Murray State and Purdue en route to an improbable run to the Elite 8.
Just one win away from reaching the Final Four heading into Sunday’s game against no. 8 North Carolina, the Peacocks are in that nation’s spotlight. It’s a first for many of these young men, but not for their head coach.
With his sudden rise in popularity, people are suddenly finding out that Holloway was actually quite the hooper himself during his early years. In fact, the Saint Peter’s head coach once outplayed THE Kobe Bryant during a high school All-Star Game.
The year was 1996. Shaheen Holloway was one of the top recruits of his class. So, like all the best high school players his age, he was invited to attend the McDonald’s All-American Game. There, the 5’10” point guard played alongside shooting guard phenom Kobe Bryant.
Kobe had an impressive showing with 13 points and three assists, but it was Holloway who came away with MVP honors after putting up seven points, eight assists and six steals in a 120-105 East victory.
Holloway recently talked about the whole experience of playing with Kobe and several other future NBA greats with Rich Eisen:
Shaheen was very modest about his accomplishment, instead focusing on how much it meant to him to be playing with such talented players. And who can blame him? Along with Kobe, the game also featured names like Stephen Jackson, Mike Bibby, Mateen Cleaves, Richard Hamilton and Jermaine O’Neal.
Kobe would go on to be taken 13th overall by the Charlotte Hornets in the NBA Draft just three months later — and subsequently traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, where he would go on to have one of the greatest careers in NBA history.
As for Holloway, he spent four years at Seton Hall but was never able to reach the NBA level, playing most of his professional career overseas.
Here’s the entire game, if you have 82 minutes to kill: