Tim Thomas vs. Shaheen Holloway: The Epic Matchup

Photo courtesy of Tim Thomas.

By David Cordova

Back in 1996, two of the most prominent names in the state of New Jersey and around the country in terms of high school basketball, was Tim Thomas and Shaheen Holloway. At that time, both players played for now-defunct powerhouses in Paterson Catholic and St. Patrick’s.

Thomas averaged 25.3 points and 14.5 rebounds per game for the Cougars and was named a first-team Parade All-American. Holloway averaged 22.5 points, 9.1 assists and 5.8 steals per game for the Celtics and was named a second-team Parade All-American.

Later that year, they were selected to participate in the McDonald’s All-American Game in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and the Magic Johnson Roundball Classic in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Also, in the spring, they would announce their college destinations. Thomas would go on to play at Villanova University and Holloway would go on to play in-state at Seton Hall University.

An article of the matchup in the Feb. 2nd, 1996 issue of the Asbury Park Press. (Photo courtesy of Newspapers.com)

For Thomas, it would be a one-and-done situation, as he would go on to average 16.9 points and 6.1 rebounds as a freshman, before he was selected with the No. 7 pick in the 1997 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers. He would go on to play 14 seasons in the NBA for seven seasons. He is currently a fixture in the basketball community in New Jersey, as he is involved with the Hoopsville Pro-Am and is also running his Tim Thomas Elite AAU program. At the present time, he is running his first annual, “Tim Thomas New Jersey High School Hoops Showcase,” this week at East Orange Campus High School in East Orange, New Jersey.

Holloway, who won the MVP award in the McDonald’s All-American Game, with his performance of seven points, eight assists and six steals, was a force for the Seton Hall Pirates for four seasons, as he scored 1,588 points and led them to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament as a senior in 1999-2000. He would then go on to play professionally for several seasons in various countries, such as Germany, Israel, Turkey, the United Kingdom and Venezuela and also played in the USBL.

After his playing days ended, he would go on to coach on the college level, first as an assistant at Iona College in New Rochelle, New York for three seasons, and then at his alma mater, Seton Hall, for eight seasons. On April 10th, 2018, he accepted the position as head coach at St. Peter’s University in Jersey City, New Jersey, where he is now in his second season leading the Peacocks, who are currently 3-5 on the season.

However, there is one game that will live in infamy. On February 1st, 1996, Paterson Catholic and St. Patrick’s met up at the Rothman Center on the campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, New Jersey in front of almost 3,000 spectators. On that night, Thomas had 31 points, eight rebounds and eight blocks. Holloway held his own with 35 points, six steals and four assists. However, the Cougars won the game, 72-62.

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