Levi Holmes: superstar on hardwood and in class

Levi Holmes ’19 being defended during an exhibition game at Univ. of Vermont, Nov. 4, 2018. (Photo via Jaems Buck/SMC Athletics)

By Morgan Johnston

Staff Writer

During the winter months, Levi Holmes ’19 spends a lot of time in the Ross Sports Center practicing with his teammates on the men’s basketball team. Holmes’ team-first mentality is apparent, but when the second-year team captain is away from the court Holmes is distracted by visions of game and practice strategies.

To help free his mind from basket- ball, Holmes finds himself studying in the isolated bottom floor of the Durick Library, the place on campus where he focuses best on his heavy school work- load as a double major in economics and math, he explained.

His time in the library has certainly paid off.

Holmes was inducted into the math honors society this fall, was a member of the 2017-18 CoSIDA NCAA Division II Academic All-District 1 team and the 2017-18 CoSIDA NCAA Division II Academic All-America third team, and has received two NE-10 academic achievements awards over the course of his career.

Holmes admitted that it is difficult to find an equal balance between aca- demics and basketball.

“It is a real struggle,” Holmes said, “especially finding time to relax and clear my mind because I stress about trying to do well in both. So finding the balance was probably the hardest part.”

Holmes said the biggest challenge he has overcome is realizing not every- thing is going to be perfect.

“I used to put an enormous amount of pressure on myself trying to perfect the balance of school and basketball,” Holmes said. “I realized over time that it’s impossible to be perfect and mistakes and failures are a part of life, it happens to everybody.”

Through eight games this season Holmes is averaging 20 points per game, the sixth best scoring rate in the NE-10, accounting for 143 total points to date. Last season, Holmes was named to the NE-10 All-Conference second team and the D2 CCA (Conference Commissioners Association) All-East Region second team.

Holmes recorded a game-winning basket in an 82-81 overtime victory over regionally-ranked Assumption College on Nov. 29.

Roommate, teammate, and co-captain Derek Cheatom ’19, said Holmes is very focused during practice.

“He’s the second year captain now so he’s always locked in, and he wants to set that example for everyone else,” Cheatom said.

Cheatom has also been in classes with Holmes during past semesters.

“He makes me work harder, because I want to do as well as he does and I won’t slack off,” Cheatom said. “He also makes class pretty interesting and fun. He likes to study by himself, but if I need help he’ll help me out.”

Head coach Josh Meyers admires the tenacity that Holmes has not just on the court, but in all aspects of life.

“(Things don’t) come easy for him,” Meyers said. “He’s going to work until he’s able to do something. He’s real-
ly talented at basketball and a really intelligent person, but he’s not some- one who just rests on those things.

He really pushes himself to get better and is always striving for excellence in everything that he does.”

Scheduled to graduate this upcoming May, Holmes is keeping his options open when it comes to jobs and basket- ball. If given the opportunity, Holmes said he would like to play internationally, specifically in Europe.