Cory Kilby is entering his last season with Mercer Men’s basketball, and he looks to step up as a leader and help pass the torch to the team’s underclassmen.
Kilby said he grew up around basketball because of his dad’s love for the sport. He spent a lot of time going to the gym with his dad for pick-up games, but didn’t start to take basketball serious until he got into high school.
“I was big and tall and so it just kind of came naturally to me. But I worked really hard and I just fell in love with the game,” Kilby said.
So why did Kilby choose Mercer? Kilby grew up a North Carolina Tar Heel fan and said he remembers being “happy that Mercer beat Duke” in the 2013 NCAA tournament.
Another reason was the bond that formed between him and Men’s Basketball Head Coach Bob Hoffman during recruitment, a bond that started with the realization that the two are from close to the same area of Oklahoma.
“Coach Hoffman really stuck out to me as a great leader and a great man. He’s what you want in a head coach,” Kilby said.
Hoffman credits Kilby with staying true to who he is throughout college.
“He’s always been grounded … and he knows where he comes from and that’s what makes him such a special young man,” Hoffman said. “I’m blessed to call him one of my players.”
Hoffman also noted that Kilby and his other senior teammate Jaylen Stowe are stepping up to become team leaders.
“[Their] voice has been strong but they just haven’t been saying things, they’ve actually been doing them which is more important in leadership,” Hoffman said.
Kilby and Hoffman share the same view on what they want and expect to be the team’s outcome from the season.
“Nobody really thinks highly of us around the conference … But we believe in ourselves. I think our goal at the end of the season is to win a [Southern Conference] championship and make the NCAA tournament,” Kilby said.
As for what comes after his final season is still up in the air, with Kilby wanting to see if he could possibly play professionally overseas for a season or two. If a professional playing career doesn’t work, he said he would also love to be a coach.