Ex-Unionville star enjoying Cinderella run in NCAA tourney

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Kevin Hovde, Richmond face tough task in No. 1 seed Kansas, Friday

By Hannah Christopher, Staff Writer, UnionvilleTimes.com

Kevin Hovde, right, with teammate Kevin Smith is Unionville High School's all time leading scorer in boys' basketball. Friday night, he and his Richmond teammates will take on mighty Kansas in the NCAA Mens' basketball tournament. Photo courtesy Mark Hovde.

He’s the all-time leading scorer in Unionville Boys basketball history, but there’s no doubt Kevin Hovde is ending his playing career on a high note.

On Wednesday night I had the pleasure of interviewing Kevin,  Unionville High School athlete and graduate, (class of 2006). When I spoke to Kevin he had just boarded the plane from Richmond, VA and was en route to San Antonio, Texas for a sweet 16 game for the NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament.

Kevin plays for the University of Richmond Spiders (12 seed) who are matched up against the Kansas Jayhawks (1 seed) on Friday night at the Alamo Dome in San Antonio. He is the all time male scorer at Unionville High School with 1370 points.

Richmond is coached by Chris Mooney (Princeton, ‘94) and this is their eighth appearance in the NCAA tournament — and the Spiders have become famous for their NCAA tournament upsets over the years. Their record this season is 29-7 and they currently have a nine-game winning streak.

Kevin said that they are an experienced team with four senior starters.  These seniors are not fazed by the pressure of playing the number one seed. Their coach is a former Princeton player and grad and he favors running a variation of the Princeton offense.  They play a match-up zone defense and aim to limit their opponent’s time to work the ball inside.  According to Hovde,  all five starters can dribble, shoot and pass extremely well.

I asked Kevin how he feels about playing against a No. 1 seed that has 39 appearances in the tournament, with 13 appearances in the Final Four.

He spoke confidently about the Spiders’ chances and feels that they can hold the Morris twins (Marcus and Markieff) and the Jayhawks at bay and win the battle to the Elite 8. He said their point guard, Kevin Anderson, is a NBA prospect and does not turn the ball over.  Anderson has scored over 2000 points in his career at Richmond.  As a team Richmond only turned the ball over two times in their game against Vanderbilt in the first round of the tourney and twice in their upset over Morehead State in the second half.  The last time the Spiders made it to the sweet 16 was 23 years ago in 1988

The Spiders have many Philly connections; Hovde (Unionville), Greg Robbins (Wynewood),  and  Dan Geriot (Springfield) each on the roster along with Philly born and bred Assistant Coach Kevin McGeehan, (Maple Glen), and Coach Chris Mooney, (Philadelphia).  These Pennsylvania natives have a chance to make history on Friday night. Hovde said over a few hundred fans saw the Spiders off from the Richmond airport on Wednesday night. There should be hundreds more at the Alamo Dome rooting for the underdogs for a victory over Kansas on Friday.

Although excited by this run deep into the tournament, Hovde has had his ups and downs at Richmond.

During the 2009-2010 season Hovde suffered a broken ankle at the start of the season so he was red shirted — sitting out, but getting an extra year of eligibility — his senior year. This year, he is a grad student playing his fourth year for Richmond.  He said they have great leadership with the seniors this year who have built up the program during his time at Richmond.  This season will be his last year on the team and he is now a grad student majoring in liberal arts.

After graduating  last year with a degree in Political Science and he said he will be hopefully entering the college coaching arena himself after getting his masters degree.

For now, though, Kevin Hovde is on the journey of his young life to San Antonio for a chance to be in the Elite 8.

Game time is 7:27 on Friday night, March 25 on TBS.

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2 Comments

  1. Joe Jacobs says:

    I hope Richmond wins on Friday night and good for the Philly connection! Show Kansas what east coast basketball can do.

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