Where have you gone (Red Army edition)

(Updated: 1:18 p.m. with CSKA-Ural Great final below)

Everybody knows the story of Adonal Foyle, the Patriot League player who has enjoyed the most post-graduate basketball success.
Fewer are as familiar with the story of Bucknell grad J.R. Holden, who has easily had the second most successful hoops career among former Patriot Leaguers.

How Holden, the best point guard we have ever seen in a Patriot League uniform, was left off the league's All-Decade team, is still a mystery to us. Nothing against Brian Ehlers, the only PG on that squad, but as fine a player the three-time all league and two-time player of the year from Lafayette was, he could not carry Holden's proverbial jockstrap.

We still remember the night in March of 1997 when Holden carried Bucknell past Foyle's Colgate team in the PL semifinal game at Stabler Arena that proved to be Foyle's last collegiate contest.

An NBA scout sitting in front of me on press row was there to watch Foyle. Midway through the first half, he sent a tournament staffer scurrying for a Bucknell media guide. "Who is this kid?" he wondered.

Holden made the all-tournament team that season, and was a two-time first-team all-league selection. He went on to have cups of coffee in the NBA's summer leagues. But overseas is where Holden has shined.

After stints in Latvia, Belgium and Greece, Holden has found a home with CSKA in Russia, where he is widely considered the be the country's top point guard.

How highly is Holden regarded over there? Highly enough for Russian president Vladimir Putin to have granted him citizenship, making him eligible to play for the Russian national team. Holden was just named to the list of players being considered for the Russian team in September's European Championships.

Holden has led CSKA to two straight Russian league titles. Five years in a row his teams in Europe have won their league crowns (From his profile on the CSKA Web site: Won the 02/03, 03/04 Russian Championship with CSKA Moscow… won the 2001/02 Greece Championship with AEK (Athens)… won the 2000/2001 Belgian Championship with Oostende… won the 2001 Cup of Belgian with Oostende… won the 1999/00 Latvian Championship with SKA-Broceni (Riga)… participate in Latvian All Star Game in 2001… participate in Greece All Star Game in 2002).

So far this season, CSKA (also known as the Moscow Army team ... aka Red Army team) has already won the Russian Cup and qualified for the Euroleague (Superleague) and Russian League final fours (Please don't ask us the difference between the Russian Cup and Russian League, these things don't translate easily on the sites we have found so far. If you know, feel free to e-mail us and we will share with all).

Matter of fact, as we write this post, Holden has 6 points, 3 assists and 3 steals at the half of game one of CSKA's Russian League playoff series against Ural Great (CSKA leads 49-40).

The Euroleague final four will be played in Moscow May 6-8.

We tried back during the regular season to make contact with Holden through CKSA by e-mail. Maybe it was a bad Russian from the Web site we used to translate the request for an interview, or maybe it just got ignored.

Hopefully in the next few weeks we will be able to make contact for a more complete story on Holden's Russian adventures.

UPDATE: Final -- CSKA 104, Ural Great 91. Holden's line: 11 points, 4 assists, 5 steals, 0 turnovers in 22:59 of action. CSKA improves to 25-0 in Russian Superleague play, 46-1 overall (22-1 in Euroleague).

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