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Friends predicted 'Jeopardy! James' would be 'amazing' at something unique

James Holzhauer racked up win No. 22 Friday, placing him behind only Ken Jennings with the second-longest winning streak.

NAPERVILLE, Ill. — James Holzhauer received yet another headline on the front page of the local newspaper in Naperville, Illinois, this one after achieving the second-longest winning streak in Jeopardy history. 

But it’s an even bigger deal for those close to him who say they’ve seen his rapid-fire recall before.

"We did bond at an early age over baseball," said childhood friend Jason Sullivan. "He could tell baseball facts like he was reading them right out of a book. It was pretty amazing."

It's just one of the talents Holzhauer had growing up that those who surrounded him were able to easily recall years later.  

"I’ve known him and his brother from a really young age, like 7 or 8, going back a long ways," Sullivan said. "He’s an amazingly smart guy, so on one level, knowing how smart he is, it shouldn’t really come as a surprise. But seeing the numbers night after night is really amazing."

Those night-after-night numbers sparked "Jeopardy!'s" James Holzhauer Tracker, where the game show crunched his statistics for averages like money won per game, bet per daily double and correct final Jeopardy rate. 

Thinking back to their time at Naperville North High School, Sullivan remembers a game of cards where they predicted what each friend would do when they "grew up."

"We said, 'James is going to find some really unusual, nontraditional thing and he’s going to be amazing at it.' And just seeing the sports gambling and now Jeopardy!, I think we got that spot on," Sullivan said.

Holzhauer now gets a two-week break as "Jeopardy!" airs its "Teachers Tournament."

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