Kevin Hervey doesn’t disappoint: The Holon forward shows he’s a cut above the rest in victory over Jerusalem

Feb 29, 2024 | Holyland Hoops

The second that Kevin Hervey signed with Hapoel Holon, my jaw dropped. I couldn’t believe that a player of Hervey’s caliber was on his way to Israel to bolster Amit Sherf’s purples as they head into the latter stages of the Basketball Champions League as well as trying to make as much noise as they possibly can in the domestic competition.

Hervey is a top notch star.

The 2022 EuroCup Champion with Bologna and Oklahoma City Thunder 2018 second round draft pick who honed his skills at the University of Texas at Arlington had arrived in Israel to help Holon make a big push to get to the promised land.

As I walked into the Jerusalem Arena a little more than an hour before tipoff, I introduced myself to Hervey and told him how excited I was to have the chance to finally see him live and in the flesh, telling him that this was his night. And he did not disappoint.

The 27-year old is a classic power forward for today’s game that can do multiple things on the court from causing chaos in the paint to spreading the floor with his ability to hit his shot from long range. In fact, Hervey is knocking down his triples to the tune of 41.5% this season which began in Reggio Emilia. While things may not have gone the way everyone had wanted in Italy, Holon is benefiting mightily from Hervey’s arrival.

Kevin Hervey – Photo credit: Yehuda Halickman

In just 4 games in the Holy Land, Hervey is averaging 22.5 points and 6.8 rebounds and even more importantly is that the team is 3-1 in those games having won three in a row with two of those victories coming over Hapoel Tel Aviv and at Hapoel Jerusalem where the visitors Holon slipped by 73-72 in a thriller.

The capital city squad was able to see up close and personal how dominant a plyer like Hervey can be as he checked in with 26 points and 7 boards, but it was the various facets as to how he played that bamboozled the Jerusalem players. JaCorey Williams who had looked like a bonafide star since joining Jerusalem had all kinds of problems containing Hervey and that was just the tip of the iceberg as Hervey dominated anyone and everyone that was sent his way. Oz Blayzer, Levin Randolph, Khadeen Carrington, Chris Johnson and Speedy Smith, the list of Hervey’s victim’s went on and on and on.

Hervey was a cut above everyone else on the court for the entire 40 minutes, whether it was on the defensive end or on the attack with turnarounds, fadeaways, layups, 3-pointers as he was able to keep Jerusalem within reach to finally get over the hump and take the lead as the game wound down in order to notch the win.

Kevin Hervey – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

Head Coach Amit Sherf was all smiles when we walked out to the team bus after the game and was telling me how thankful he was to management for being able to make such a significant move and bring in a player of Hervey’s caliber. You couldn’t miss that smile plastered on his face as he will now ready for a pair of tough games, on Saturday night at Hapoel Tel Aviv and then in Basketball Champions League round of 16 group stage play at AEK in Greece next week.

Sherf knows what kind of jewel he now has and musty also be thinking about how the team will look when the injured players in Shawn Dawson, CJ Harris and Justin Smith return to action.

But for now, Sherf and Holon will ride the Hervey wave and use his spectacular skills to help Holon continue on its way.

Amit Sherf – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

“His qualities to score are clear to everyone,” Sherf said following the game. “A player like that who can shoot and post up can be a mismatch and we are taking advantage of that. He can create for others as well when they are putting pressure on him. He gives us peace of mind as he knows where to be and when to be in certain places and he is a good complement around players who may be energetic or aggressive. The key will be to really take advantage of his strengths so that he can work with the rest of team and know when to get them the ball as well. This will hopefully take us to the next level offensively.”

Netanel Artzi who has taken some significant steps in his career since joining Holon last season also spoke about what Hervey brings to the table and how he will be able to help the team as they look to move on to the quarterfinals of the BCL.

Netanel Artzi – Photo credit: Yehuda Halickman

“He’s a great guy and a fascinating person since he’s been here,” the Israeli forward said. “I sit next to him in the lockerroom and I can feel that we have a strong chemistry. He brings qualities that are rare in the league and he can be trusted in the clutch. He has given us a lot from his own experiences and he really cares about the team. We were able to understand how to work well with him very quickly and vice versa. He’s been a huge help for us. We have a lot of games ahead and I believe that he will be able keep up his terrific play.”

Hervey himself spoke about his short time in Israel thus far as he tried to help lead the team to the next level, “We got some guys out and we found a way to win so I am happy that we are winning. My teammates made me dominant in this game. They threw me the ball and gave me opportunities to score, coach draws up plays for me, I work on my game and I work on myself so I am just happy to be playing well.”

Kevin Hervey – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

“Holon has integrated me well,” Hervey continued. “The have shown me love, the fans have been great, my teammates are great and everything is going well so far. I wouldn’t say that (being the main offensive weapon), but I feel comfortable with myself so if I am in position to do all of that then I can do it.”

As for the keys going forward, Hervey knows what is at stake and what the focus is going to be on, “We can just keep winning, keep competing every night. Every time we play, every time we get onto the court get the guys who are unhealthy, healthy and get our whole team back, then the sky’s the limit. If I’m not mistaken we have Hapoel Tel Aviv next game and that is where my mind is now, it will be a good game.”

Kevin Hervey – Photo credit: Yehuda Halickman

Just before Hervey climbed the stairs up to the coach that would take the forward and his teammates back to Holon, he said that I was his good luck charm in this game, talking about how we had spoken prior to the game about this being his day while lamenting his struggles from the line (4/9) until I reminded him he hit the 2 that counted most with 7 clicks of the clock left in the game. But more importantly we discussed how he and Justin Smith will be a massive 1-2 punch when the latter returns and how they will be able to complement one another.

Hervey’s eyes sparkled at the thought of what Holon’s front court could be and I can’t wait to see that in action.

Kevin Hervey – Photo credit: Yehuda Halickman

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