'09 Academy grad named Team USA basketball MVP

Second Lt. Matthew Holland was named most valuable player after leading Team USA to the 2010 SHAPE International Men's Basketball Championship Nov. 29 through Dec. 4, 2010, in Mons, Belgium. (U.S. Army photo/Tim Hipps)

Second Lt. Matthew Holland, seen here with his All-Armed Forces Tournament Team plaque, was named Most Valuable Player after leading Team USA to the 2010 SHAPE International Men's Basketball Championship Nov. 29 through Dec. 4, 2010, in Mons, Belgium. Lieutenant Holland played with the Air Force Falcons basketball team from 2006 to 2008 and graduated from the Air Force Academy with a bachelor's degree in management in 2009. (U.S. Army photo/Tim Hipps)

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- A 2009 Air Force Academy graduate was named the Most Valuable Player for leading Team USA to the 2010 SHAPE International Men's Basketball Championship in Mons, Belgium, Nov. 29-Dec. 4.

Second Lt. Matt Holland, who played with the Falcons basketball team from 2006 to 2008, had 14 points in the United States' 78-71 victory over Lithuania in the SHAPE championship game.

"I was honored to be able to represent the United States, the military and the Air Force as a whole," Lieutenant Holland said. "Being selected for the team took dedication, but as I've learned from my parents, hard work and persistence pays off."

The lieutenant was unanimously voted the tournament MVP after the United States won the championship.

Lieutenant Holland graduated from the Academy with a bachelor's degree in management. He is currently stationed at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., as a space intelligence analyst with the 614th Air and Space Operations Center.

Team USA was 4-0 in the tournament, defeating Italy 95-59, the United Kingdom 103-62, and Latvia 83-70 before defeating Lithuania in the title match.

Lieutenant Holland was selected to compete with Team USA after his performance in the August 2010 armed forces basketball tournament in Washington, D.C., according to a release from the 30th Space Wing.

"Wearing the letters (USA) on my jersey while playing overseas was probably my favorite basketball memory," he said, adding that he hopes to play in future tournaments. The next armed forces tournament will be held in Rio de Janiero in July.

(Article compiled from Air Force News Service, 30th Space Wing releases and staff reports.)