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Tra Holder: Ready to put Thailand in the best position to succeed
BANGKOK (Thailand) - "Larb" is a dish common to the Northeastern region of Thailand. It is basically a salad that is usually made of minced pork flavored with fish sauce, lime juice, and fresh herbs.
"I like Larb a lot," says Tra Holder.
As a native of Los Angeles, the 1.85M (6’2") guard didn’t grow up with having Larb as a common dish that could easily be ordered. But now that he’s a part of the Thailand national team talent pool, his access to Larb - which he claims is his favorite Thai food - should be much better.
"It’s a great opportunity [to play for the national team] especially because I like doing things that’s bigger than myself."(Photo via Basketball Sport Association of Thailand)
Holder’s basketball resume so far in his career is impressive.
He had an outstanding time playing for the Arizona State Sundevils in the NCAA Division 1. In his first year, he was named to the PAC-12 All-Freshman team. He wrapped things up in his senior year with a place on the All PAC-12 first team along with NBA talents like DeAndre Ayton, Aaron Holiday, and Jordan McLaughlin.
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He’s since played professionally in Italy, Germany, Poland, and the NBA G League where he has casually held his own.
Next up for Tra Holder is being a part of the Thailand national team, an opportunity that he has because of his mother, Charee.
"My mom’s Thai, she was born in Bangkok," explained Holder, or as he is referred to in Thailand, Antonio Price Soonthornchote, which is his full name.
"She never taught me Thai but I used to go the temple [when I was young]. Thai food was always one of the things that we always ate. And in the Thai culture, everyone is super kind and respected each other and I was taught that growing up."
Because of that heritage, Holder is now a part of the Thailand national team as they continue their efforts to make positive steps forward in the Asia basketball scene. The impact that he can potentially have on Thailand basketball is not lost on him.
(Photo via Basketball Sport Association of Thailand)
"It’s a great opportunity [to play for the national team] especially because I like doing things that’s bigger than myself. I know this country is such a beautiful place so now hopefully I can make everyone proud, especially those who like basketball. If we win, people who don’t like basketball could be proud because we’re representing Thailand. It’s just a great feeling to be a part of something like this."
Tra (and Thailand basketball fans) are not the only ones excited for his eventual national team debut.
"My mother is super excited," he said. "I wouldn’t say she’s more excited than me but she’s always wanted me to come to Thailand. I’ve always said maybe later, maybe this and that. I thought it was a good opportunity, I’m a little older now so I felt like I should see a different culture and it’s basketball. I’m just trying to compete and do something that’s never been done for the country."
Behind the success Holder’s had so far in his basketball career is the support of his parents. While his mother’s heritage opened the door for Holder to play for the Thailad national team, it was his father who had paved the path for him to get on the hardwood.
"My dad was the big influence. He’s been around basketball for a long time," said Holder. "His best friend played in the NBA and I don’t really remember it but I had pictures and I was kind of always around the scene. Basketball has been a big part of the culture in LA as well and I kind of fell in love with the sport ever since."
"He is a hard worker and it’s always been basketball for him," said Holder's mother, as per College Times. 'Whenever he had the opportunity, after he did homework or he studied or whatever else he had to do, he just practiced basketball."
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Lay it all out
With that support always behind him, Holder has been constantly developing his game and playing at a high level by giving it his all. Whether it’s practicing with the likes of James Harden, working out with Baron Davis ("he’s like a big uncle to me"), or going up against players like Kyle Kuzma, Dillion Brooks, or Matisse Thybulle, Holder will work hard and pour his heart out to get a win.
That’s why Asia basketball fans should be intrigued to get the chance to watch him play. The earliest opportunity to see Holder in action for Thailand will be at the Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi. Additionally, with the FIBA Asia Cup 2025 Pre-Qualifiers just around the corner in late May, there’s plenty of excitement in the air in anticipation of whether Holder will play.
"[Fans can expect] a person who is proud to play for the country," Holden said. "I’m not going to guarantee that’s we’re going to win this and win that or I’m going to score this or that. I’m just going to play hard and lay it all out on the floor and whatever happens, happens. I know that me and my teammates will put ourselves in the best position to win, so we can live with that."
The 26-year-old averaged 18.2 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 4.2 assist per game in his senior year at Arizona State where he was, to point out again, one of the best players in the country. He’s coming off two seasons of double-digit scoring on average whether it was in Poland, Germany, or the G League.
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More or less, Holder will have an impact by being a part of the national team. In addition to potentially being one of the best players on the court for Thailand when the time comes, Holder is also expecting to positively adjust the mindset within the team.
"I feel like there’s obviously other countries in Asia that are better in basketball [than Thailand], but every country has to take time to get better. I think at least if we’re not going to be the most talented, we will work hard, and that will give us a chance to win regardless of the situation."
"I will say that we’re putting ourselves in the best position to win when we’re in the gym, when we’re practicing, or getting a long together. That’s a good start right there."
Thailand has made a good start by adding Holder to the talent pool along with the likes of Tyler Lamb, Moses Morgan, and Chanatip Jakrawan. Now they have a good chance to turn that into success on the court.