‘B.B.’ bound for Blue-Gold: IR hoops star Holland receives post-season accolades
Indian River High School senior forward Jaevon “B.B.” Holland has led the Indians basketball team in virtually every statistical category for the past two seasons. However, he’s also been the team’s leader in a category that’s a little more difficult to measure — sportsmanship.
During the many times that the Indians needed a boost during their program re-defining 2013-2014 season, Holland was typically the one to give it to them — whether it was in the form of an emotionally charged speech, beating on his chest and congratulating his teammates after a big play, or just witnessing his non-stop motor and un-matched determination never falter despite the game’s circumstances.
There wasn’t another player on the court that wanted to win more than Holland, and all he has wanted to do for the past two seasons is lead his team to “The Bob” — the University of Delaware’s Bob Carpenter Center — to contest a state championship.
While he and the Indians fell just short of that goal — getting knocked out of the DIAA playoffs in the first round against Cape Henlopen last week — Holland’s incomparable drive and standout sportsmanship earned him a spot in the Blue-Gold All-Star game, which, somewhat ironically, will be held at “The Bob.”
While his appearance at the UD facility may not be what he originally had in mind, Holland said he is still honored to represent his school and his team in front of players, coaches and fans from all over the state.
“I’m going to just go out there and play my game,” he stated confidently, “and show everybody what they expect.”
The game will be held on Saturday, March 15, at 4 p.m. and will feature a halftime dunk contest, as well as appearances by Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach Chip Kelly and former Delaware Blue-Hen and current WNBA star Elena Delle-Donne. On March 12, all players invited will also get the opportunity to have lunch with Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden and Gov. Jack Markell.
The dunk contest participants have not yet been named, but Holland expressed interested in competing if given the opportunity.
The only player representing Indian River in the game, Holland will play for the Gold team and will be joined by Cape senior Jon Warren, whom he matched up against in the playoffs, and Woodbridge senior Ricky Rayford, who was a major factor in stopping the Indians from bringing home the Henlopen South title.
“It’s part of basketball,” Holland explained the dynamic between rival players. “Outside of that, we’re already cool, so it’s going be crazy playing with them, but at the same time it should be fun — it’ll be very interesting.”
The top talent from schools like Sussex Central, Milford, and Laurel will also join their Henlopen rivals to face the Blue team, which is comprised from mostly northern schools like Salesianum, Newark, and Sanford.
Like all Blue-Gold games, this year’s All-Stars will also participate in the buddy program — helping out children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Holland is looking forward to helping with the Best Buddies mission.
“It gets to my heart that I get to go out there and be there for them and show them love and be around them and be around that atmosphere,” he said after noting how much he is looking forward to the entire experience.
Holland remains humbled by the recognition, but he said he would have liked to see teammates and fellow seniors Brian Arthur and London Tucker selected, as well, and would use the situation as further motivation.
“That motivates me to basically go out there and play my best,” he noted. “I know if one of them had the chance they would go and do the same thing.”
The Blue-Gold selection wasn’t the only noteworthy accolade to highlight Holland’s character as both a person and an athlete recently, as he was also presented with a medal and awarded the “Sports On Delmarva Sportsmanship Award” after last week’s game at Cape Henlopen.
“It shows what type of person I am on and off the court,” he explained. “Whether I lose or win, I still show respect to the other team.”
Tickets for the Blue-Gold game are still available and cost $10 for adults or $8 for students. They can be purchased online at www.bestbuddiesdelaware.org/bluegold or by calling (302) 691-3187.