Kory Holden: Poetry in motion

Kory Holden. Photo Credit: Mark Campbell, UD Photo Services
Kory Holden. Photo Credit: Mark Campbell, UD Photo Services
Kory Holden. Photo Credit: Mark Campbell, UD Photo Services

Why do you cry? It could be for many reasons. Maybe it’s tears of joy, maybe it’s happiness coming out of you, or like most the time, it’s fear or pain. Life… Something that can’t be defined, Love…. Something that messed up ones state of mind. Death… Something we all will look in the face. But GOD… The powerful king that instilled in us what we call faith. We all go through what we go through. But it’s up to us to make it better. We all hope to come out dry in the stormy wet weather. Feeling lost is just a stage. A moment we can bare. Cause right when you feel like it’s over, the great king will be right there. Picking you up, putting the pieces back together. A leader leads with the God given wisdom from above. Givin one courage, hope, faith, not hate but love. Friends are temporary, pain is too. So overcome all the things that weigh you down to become something stronger.

-Kory Holden, Delaware freshman point guard

Most basketball players will tell you the court provides refuge from all of the real world stresses that plague a college student. But what about when the hardwood is the source for those daily stresses?

Where does a player turn for a therapeutic outlet?

Delaware point guard Kory Holden, a favorite for CAA Rookie of the Year, found his escape in poetry. And in a historically bad start for Delaware, the freshman had never needed it more.

“If basketball is not going well for me than I can put it into a life perspective in a poem,” says the freshman.

After making his collegiate debut on Nov. 17th, the Salisbury, M.D., native had to wait a month to know what it feels like to win a NCAA game. Delaware lost its first 10 games in non-conference play.

Losing was foreign to Holden. In his junior and senior year he led Maryland’s James M. Bennett high school to a combined 34-9 record. The four-year starter broke the school’s scoring record and averaged 29.7 points and 8.6 assists in his senior year.

The high school to collegiate transition is already difficult for a point guard. But going from a winning team to losing? Whole new ball game.

“We did go [0-10] so that’s not easy to handle,” Holden says.

Holden says coach Monte’ Ross consistently told his players that they “would start to gel” and to “be patient” but that’s still not easy for a freshman guard.

So in a time when winless was synonymous with Delaware, Holden found peace in creative writing. It didn’t matter where the setting was – Holden was becoming as comfortable with using metaphors as he is with his crossover.

“Airplane rides, bus rides, even just chilling in the hotel room before a game; that’s usually when I have to do it,” Holden says.

Do not be mistaken: the point guard has been on an absolute tear and led Delaware to multiple big wins.

In the Blue Hens’ first win of the season against St. Bonaventure, the guard scored a collegiate career-high 27 points. In their first conference win against Charleston, Holden scored 14 and went 8 of 10 from the line. He followed it up with 24 points against Towson to give Delaware its first winning streak of the season.

He essentially has been the biggest factor in turning Delaware into the kryptonite for top teams in the CAA. In an 84-80 upset win against William & Mary, Holden had 24 points on 9 of 13 shooting and nine assists. In a win against Northeastern, he had 15 points and he matched that in Delaware’s second win against William & Mary.

“You always want to play against the best,” Holden says. “William & Mary has Marcus Thornton so I obviously want to play well against them.”

He says the person seen on the court – the player displaying “toughness and just being gritty” – doesn’t encapsulate who he is. That’s when poetry comes in.

“I’m just more hungry and determined on the court and relaxed and in my own world in the poems,” Holden says. “…if one is not working out for me than I can’t do the other.”

Holden’s great play has many drawing comparisons to last year’s first-team All-CAA guard Devon Saddler. The balance Holden gets from his dual passions provides distance from the hype.

“I want to be in the names of the greatest that came here but I’m not trying to live up to him,” Holden says. “I just want to play my own game. Whatever comes is what comes.”

One thing he does know is that his team is capable of making noise in March.

“I think we got a chance,” Holden says. “If we can play defense, we can beat anybody.

“…I don’t think any of the top teams want to come across us anyways.”

The freshman is currently in his last week of practice before the tournament. Don’t be surprised if he writes a poem or two on the plane to Baltimore.