MT Hall of Fame: Amber Holt to be enshrined Saturday

Sep 28, 2018 at 10:00 am by Voice Wire

Amber Holt

Basketball has taken former Middle Tennessee Lady Raider Amber Holt all around the world, but it's clear where her roots lie.

As one of six inductees into the Blue Raider Hall of Fame on Saturday, her place is firmly cemented at MTSU.

"Middle Tennessee was like family to me," Holt said. "All of my teammates and me, we really cared about each other, and I took a lot with me afterward. What Coach [Rick] Insell taught me stayed with me throughout my professional career.

"I'm just honored to be inducted."

The forward from Duluth, Georgia, actually began her basketball journey at MT rival Western Kentucky. She quickly - Blue Raider fans might say wisely - realized Bowling Green wasn't for her, and after one semester returned home.

The next year, Holt attended Southeastern Illinois College and became a star in the junior college ranks. She was named Second Team NJCAA All-American as a freshman, finishing ninth nationally in scoring and rebounding and 10th in steals, then upped her output as a sophomore. She was a First Team All-American in her second season, finishing with a stat line of 20.2 points, 9.5 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 4.0 steals per game for a SIC team that went 33-3 and finished fifth at the NJCAA Tournament.

After her sophomore year was complete, Holt's next big move came.

She was ready to get back onto the Division I stage, and after originally being interested in Georgia, she again looked to the Sun Belt Conference as her destination. This time, the school was blue instead of red, and she felt much more comfortable.

"Middle Tennessee was perfect because it was close to home," she said. "It meant a lot because my family could drive up and see me play. I was a little homesick being in Illinois."

Holt was an instant contributor for the Lady Raiders. With Second Team All-American Chrissy Givens leading the way, Holt poured in 16.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.7 steals per game as a junior, starting all 34 games as MT advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament after winning its fourth straight Sun Belt title. Holt was also named First Team All-Sun Belt.

A year later, with Givens moved on to the WNBA as the program's first-ever draft pick, it was Holt's time to shine.

She earned the second All-American nod in program history, making the Associated Press' third team after averaging 27.4 points per game to lead the country, the first time an MT player had achieved the feat.

To go with her 930 points scored, at the time the fifth most all-time in NCAA history, Holt averaged 8.1 rebounds and 2.35 steals while shooting 51.8 percent from the field. She was also named Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year.

"I learned how to work hard every day," Holt said. "I tried to take heed of what Coach Insell was saying for me to do. He's meant a lot to me. He was more like a dad away from home."

After ending her career in the top-10 all-time in both the Sun Belt and at Middle Tennessee in multiple single-season and career categories, Holt again had a move to make.

This time, it was to where she would start a professional career.

Holt was drafted ninth overall by the Connecticut Sun, the second-highest draft choice in program history, where she would go on to make the WNBA All-Rookie Team in 2008.

That offseason, she began an international career that would take her from the United States all over the world.

She was traded to the Tulsa Shock - now the Dallas Wings - in 2010, continuing her WNBA career until 2012. At the same time, she participated in offseason leagues in Poland, Israel, Hungary and South Korea, contributing to three Hungarian championships in 2009, 2011 and 2013.

Holt was recognized with several international awards, including's Import Player of the Year in 2009, Defensive Player of the Year in 2009 and 2010 in Hungary and First Team All-Hungarian League.

"I've learned different cultures, different styles of play and how to not be in a box, basically," she said. "It's not just learning the language and different religions, but it taught me how to open up as opposed to being quite like I was at Middle Tennessee."

Basketball has taken Holt all around the world, but there's one place she'll always be able to call home. That's in Murfreesboro, and her home is the Blue Raider Hall of Fame.

"I'm very much honored, and I'm excited for Saturday," she said.

This is a part of a series of stories about the Blue Raider Hall of Fame inductees leading up to Saturday's Hall of Fame game. Induction ceremonies will take place on the lawn of the Kennon Sports Hall of Fame at 3:30 p.m., prior to this year's Hall of Fame Game vs. Florida Atlantic at 6 p.m.

Josh Vardaman is the staff writer for Follow him on Twitter @J_Vardaman and also follow @MTAthletics for more on the Blue Raiders.

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