Kedra Holland-Corn comes to Houston seeking another WNBA title.
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May 13, 2004
The Comets have made some exciting changes to their roster during the 2004 preseason. This week, we introduce you to 5-8 guard Kedra Holland-Corn.
Holland-Corn is a native of Houston, having played for Lutheran North during her high school days. When questioned on whether or not she’s considered a legend at her former school, she answers rather humbly.
“Am I a legend? I don’t know. I think you’d have to ask them if they think I’m a legend. I had some great years there,” she said. “I’ve had great years in the WNBA, so I think I’m highly looked upon there. Am I a legend? You’d have to ask them about that.”
Holland-Corn later played ball at Georgia and graduated with a degree in Health and Physical Education in 1997. When she left Georgia, she ranked third all-time in steals (302) and eighth in career points (1,566). And when she was in only her second year with the Bulldogs, the team took a trip to the 1995 NCAA Final Four but lost in the semifinals.
After graduating from Georgia, Holland-Corn went on to play two seasons with the American Basketball League. In 1999, she moved on to Sacramento and went to the playoffs twice in four years. But the Monarchs never took a trip to the WNBA Finals.
But just last year, Holland-Corn’s only season in Detroit, the team won the 2003 WNBA title and Holland-Corn was ranked ninth in the WNBA in three-point field goals made (50).
This past February, the Comets acquired 29-year-old Holland-Corn from the Shock along with the 26th overall selection in the 2004 WNBA Draft.
After Holland-Corn’s first practice with the team on Monday, Comets Head Coach Van Chancellor had a few good things to say about his new player.
“Kedra Holland-Corn came in here today and all three of us as coaches (including Alisa Scott and Kevin Cook) said we’re going to be a better coach today," he said. "I thought she had a heck of a work out. She’s a veteran player. That’s as good a trade as we’ve made in a long time.”
Chancellor was most impressed with Holland-Corn's ability to immediately grasp a new system.
“I didn’t know she was going to play this smart and understand the game (so well)," Chancellor said. "Sometimes players come in here and take a month trying to figure out how the Comets want to play, and who we want to give the ball to, and when and what not. She just fit in.”
Holland-Corn runs the court with such finesse and agility that she will surely prove to be a strong asset to the Comets. Although she’s only practiced twice and played in one exhibition game for Houston, she’s already picking up on how to gel with her new teammates.
“It felt good," she said after her first Comets practice. "I didn’t know what to expect. There’s no doubt that Tina (Thompson) and Sheryl (Swoopes) are the forefront of this team. And right now I’m just trying to fit in as far as bringing my game to this team and having it fit in right. (Monday) was very good for me. I found out how Sheryl wants me to pass to her, how Tina likes to play. The chemistry as far as me getting involved in the team is really coming around.”
Holland-Corn plans to give back to the Houston community.
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“The only advantage I have is that this is my sixth year in the WNBA," she said. "There’s a little bit of maturity there. I’m a veteran now. So there’s no more nerves. I think I’m respected by the people here and the people in the league. So having those values under my belt makes me a little more comfortable now. And having won the championship last year makes me even more comfortable. So it’s just fun now for me to play. There’s no more of me trying to prove anything to anybody.”
Holland-Corn, born November 5, 1974, is one of the oldest players for Houston. But she is also someone who is getting used to how the team plays and she’s learning her role.
Nevertheless, Holland-Corn feels comfortable reminiscing on the past – on times when she watched the Comets from the sidelines. She recognized in her early days of WNBA play how she was challenged to play up to the level of the Houston Comets.
“Being young, I was very intimidated by this team because they were four-time champions," she said. "You knew they were coming to kick your butt. There was no doubt about it – they had it in their eye. But at the same time, I always had the goal to be the best and to play the best. And every year I was in Sacramento, we played against the best team in the world (the Comets). I looked forward to it. It’s a dream come true to be playing with them.”
Although it took her a while to get to Houston, Holland-Corn was looking to fill the Comets’ roster from the beginning. Since she is from Houston, she feels her loyalties have never left the city.
“When I first came into the WNBA, I talked to (Van) Chancellor before I got drafted," she said. "They were thinking very heavily about picking me. We talked on the phone, talked on the phone, but it didn’t work out. I was very upset because I really wanted to come home at that time and play in front of my family.”
While she would have relished the opportunity to don a Comets uniform sooner, Holland-Corn understands maybe it wouldn't have been the right time.
“I realize now I wasn’t ready to play for this team," she said. "I would have probably sat on the bench a lot, would have been looking and learning instead of playing and learning.”
Holland-Corn picked up some great experience in her route to Houston and she’s extremely thankful for her time spent elsewhere. She now joins the Comets organization with a strong history, including a championship – something this year’s younger Comets players will not take for granted.
“Sacramento was a stepping stone," Holland-Corn said. "Detroit was an even bigger stepping stone. Now I’m a lot more mature. I’m a veteran player now and I know how to play with great players. After five years, I can bring my game here and try to help (the Comets) win a championship.
“Right now I’m just trying to figure out what’s the best thing that I have that I can bring to this team to help us win. And that’s the most important thing. I’m not thinking about shooting 20 shots and hitting 20 points per game. You don’t need me to do that. So, I’m trying to figure out where I fit in, what I can do best, to help this team win another championship.”
The opportunity to play for a WNBA title in her hometown was something Holland-Corn couldn't pass up at this point in her career.
“My whole career has come down to this one thing – coming back home to play," she explained. "I’m very excited about that, a bit nervous and a bit scared to come back and play in front of my family. But at the same time, I think I’ve come to a point in my career where I can handle that.”
Holland-Corn made her first apperance in a Comets uniform against Connecticut in a preseason game.
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“I think for the most part, what I’ll probably end up doing is working with young people in some way," she said. "My husband and I have started a sports agency. It’s kind of a mentor program to help people make the transition from professional basketball.
“I’m looking forward (to the future) and the only thing I can do is play basketball. And that’s probably the best part about playing basketball – where you can relax, be comfortable, you’re playing with great players – Tina Thompson, Sheryl Swoopes – they don’t need you to carry them. They’re fine by themselves. They need someone to help them. So I’m here to help this team in whatever way I can. My purpose is to play basketball – that’s what I love to do.”
It’s good to hear that Holland-Corn and the Comets have similar goals that can only help to advance the team down the road this season. And the team needs advancement this year after falling short of a championship for the last three years.
“This team has one goal in mind and that’s to get the championship back to Houston," Holland-Corn said. "And with that in the forefront, it’s very pleasant, it’s very fun to play with this team because they’re very focused and they want to win.”
The city of Houston should be proud to know it has also acquired a woman who gives her time in service to others. Past service opportunities have included working with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Read to Achieve program. Holland-Corn has service in her heart and she’s now looking for ways to contribute to the city of Houston.
“I did a lot of Read to Achieve (in Sacramento); I was a spokesperson for the team," she said. "I’m hoping to be here for a while, so I’m hoping to get involved in the community. I love to public speak about several different things – especially to young people.”
Holland-Corn may also look to her mother and her husband, Jesse Corn, who is also her agent (and who is graduating with his MBA from Tulane in a couple of weeks), to steer her in the right direction for public service opportunities in Houston. After all, helping out in the city is the equivalent of helping her hometown – it’s the greatest way a person can give back.
One thing is definite; wherever Holland-Corn spends her time – on or off the court – Houston is sure to benefit.