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Former Hydaburg star ends college basketball career as No. 4 scorer among Alaskans

Van Williams | Alaska Sports Hall of Fame

Hydaburg’s Damen Bell-Holter pumped in 19 points in his final game with Oral Roberts University, a 83-74 loss to Weber State in Utah in the quarterfinals of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament. That allowed the Alaskan to finish his career as the third-leading scorer all time among Alaskans playing Division I college basketball. His 1,389 points trail only Carlos Boozer (1,506 points), the former Duke star who plays for the NBA's Chicago Bulls; Trajan Langdon (1,974 points), another former Duke star who when on to the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers before beginning a long career in European professional basketball; and Chris Devine (1,607 points), who starred for Santa Barbara. 

Bell-Holter, a 6-foot-9 senior, sank 7-of-8 shots from the floor, including his fifth 3-pointer of the season. He added 4-of-6 free throws, eight rebounds and a blocked shot in 30 minutes.

Bell-Holter was plagued by foul trouble most of the night, limiting his productivity and denying him a shot at bagging his 15th double-double in points and rebounds. “A tough game to lose, but they were a good team and we can’t make mistakes late against a good team,” he said.

Bell-Holter had a career-best season this year, averaging 15.5 points, 9.4 rebounds while shooting 50.4 percent from the field. The former Alaska all-state player is fifth on the Oral Roberts career rebounding list at 878 and fourth in career blocked shots with 139. In fact, Bell-Holter’s 878 rebounds is believed to be the most by an Alaska player at the NCAA Division I level -- more than Devine (723), Nick Billings (598) and Boozer (464).

Oral Roberts averaged 21 wins in Bell-Holter’s career, but the Golden Eagles never qualified for the NCAA Tournament.

“It went by really fast and I’m sad I didn’t make it to the big dance, but it was a great experience and not many people can say they came from a small village in Alaska and played Division I basketball,” Bell-Holter said. “Now it’s time to start preparing to play professionally, wherever that might be.”

Following Bell-Holter on the list of Alaska men to score at least 1,300 career points at the NCAA Division I level: 1,341 Mario Chalmers of Kansas who now starts for the NBA champion Miami Heat, 1,341 points; and Andre Laws of San Diego, 1,337 points

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story had Bell-Holter as the third leading Alaskan scored playing Division I NCAA basketball. He is No. 4 behind Trajan Langdon, Carlos Boozer and Chris Devine. 

Van Williams, a 20-year local sports writer and the former sports editor of the Anchorage Daily News, writes about the athletic exploits of Alaskans for the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame. He can be reached at alaskasportshall@yahoo.com.