Holland, Tucker named All-Conference, lead Indians to playoffs
Indian River senior forward London Tucker wasn’t part of the starting five at the beginning of basketball season. Senior forward Jaevon ‘B.B.’ Holland only has two years of varsity experience under his belt after breaking his knee as a freshman and having to sit out his sophomore year.
But neither of these factors could stop either player from collecting All-Conference honors in their senior seasons — or from leading the Indians to their first post-season appearance in boys basketball since 1999.
Holland, who was named second team All-Conference last year as a junior, was awarded first team honors for the 2013-2014 season, while Tucker makes his first appearance on the honorable mention list — though he has also been named All-Conference for football.
“I’m very honored to make it to the first team,” said Holland. “It shows that I came a long way in two years. It shows how much my game improved in a year. It really showed me what I have taken from [Head Coach Mike Fabber] teaching me.”
“When I was a sophomore I did not think I would be in this position,” Tucker continued. “It’s a great feeling.”
Tucker was playing linebacker and tight end for the Indians’ football team when basketball tryouts took place, helping lead Coach Steele’s squad to a third straight Henlopen South title and challenging top-ranked St. George’s in the first round of the DIAA playoffs.
“I got to tryouts late so when I walked in I was already the sixth man,” Tucker described. “They already had their [starting] five pretty much set out so I knew I had to work hard if I wanted to get any playing time. The first couple games when I got my chance I just went [for it].”
While both players are honored by the individual accolades, leading their team to a DIAA playoff birth was always their primary focus — especially for Tucker, who remembers playing on an 0-19 team as a sophomore in 2011-2012.
“I was embarrassed my sophomore year,” he recalled. “I didn’t know if I was going to play the next year but then we got a new coach.”
Tucker was of course referring to second-year Head Coach Mike Fabber, who has turned a winless program into a playoff team that was in contention for a Henlopen South title in just two years.
“I was thinking ok maybe he has confidence in us because what coach would want to come to an 0-19 team,” said Holland, who Fabber sought out to challenge. “He wanted us to prove to him that we wanted it.”
Both players attribute much of their individual and team success to Fabber’s influence, and acknowledged his support of the entire team both on and off the court.
“He looks out for us no matter what,” Holland claimed. “No matter what the situation is, whenever he can — he looks out for us.”
Much of the team’s turn around this season, after starting out 3-7, can be attributed to the two forwards starting to gel on the court — and both players identified the Jan. 28 win against then conference leader Laurel as the turning point in the season.
“Laurel was the best team in the conference, us beating them -— put our confidence all the way up,” said Tucker of the mid-season victory.
“That’s what we needed was the confidence to know what we are capable of,” Holland added. “At the beginning of the year I guess you can say everyone didn’t trust everyone. Now everyone trusts everyone, everyone plays together. We’re closer as a team outside and inside school. That’s what really brought us together.”
Considering the close nature of the team and contributions from all over the roster, both players were shocked to not see more of their teammates receiving accolades.
“I think Brian [Arthur] definitely should have made it,” said Tucker regarding the team’s senior point guard, who often controls the tempo of games.”
“Kei Juan [Major] I think was averaging more [points] than me,” Holland said after explaining that he fully expects Major and junior guard Shaquille Hall to make the All-Conference list next year.
Tucker has been getting looked at by Wesley College in Delaware for his football ability, but he also noted that a few schools have also been in contact with him about basketball. Holland has been receiving quite a bit of attention from schools, including Delaware State, Salisbury University and several schools in Pennsylvania. Many of the schools he’s been in contact with have acknowledged his untapped potential.
“My freshman year I broke my knee. My sophomore year I got in trouble,” Holland explained his basketball journey. “I just want to tell everybody ‘stay in school, do what you gotta do, listen to the teachers so you can play the sport that you love.’”
The no. 19 Indians were set to face no. 14 Cape Henlopen on the road last Wednesday, Feb. 26 (after Coastal Point press time), in the first round of the DIAA playoffs. For a full recap of the game and DIAA tournament news, follow @CPointSports on Twitter or check out our Facebook page www.facebook.com/coastalpointsportsnews.