Credit: mago images/kolbert-press
Credit mago images/kolbert-press

The offseason of Virtus Bologna was definitely filled with a lot of enthusiasm and hype.

Kevin Hervey

Kevin  Hervey
Position: PF
Age: 25
Height: 207 cm
Weight: 104 kg
Birth place: Dallas, United States of America

After winning the Italian league in the past season, Virtus weren't fully satisfied with coach Sasha Djordjevic, mainly because of the elimination in the EuroCup semifinals, which cost Virtus a spot in the EuroLeague.

So the ownership decided to go 'star hunting,' and they hired coach Sergio Scariolo, simply one of the best coaches available.

When it comes to the players, Virtus added some high profile ones, including former Euroleague champion Ekpe Udoh and Italian rising star Nico Mannion, who was coming from a great summer with his national team.

In the midst of all these moves, the team owned by Massimo Zanetti was also able to secure the signing of Texan power forward Kevin Hervey, who arrived from Russian club Lokomotiv Kuban.

While he was probably not the most hyped signing of the Virtus Bologna's summer, Hervey's impact on the team has been nothing short of impressive.

During the Italian Supercup, which Virtus won in the final against Olimpia Milan, Hervey started with 18 points and 18 rebounds performance against Tortona in the quarterfinals, also adding 3 steals and 1 block.

In the semifinal against Reyer Venezia, Hervey finished with 17 points and 9 rebounds, being again the top scorer of his team.

While his numbers in the final of the Supercup weren't particularly impressive (4 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 blocks), Hervey bounced back immediately in the first two rounds of the Italian Serie A. 

In the game against Trento, which Virtus won 88-102, Hervey was once again the top scorer of the team, finishing with 21 points in 24 minutes and adding 6 rebounds, 3 steals, and 3 assists.

In the second-round game against Varese, Hervey had a double-double with 23 points, 11 rebounds, 5 steals, 3 assists, and 1 block. Just a superb stat line after another. 

Drafted by the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2018 with the 57th pick overall, Hervey didn't find much space in the NBA, and in 2020 joined Russian side Lokomotiv Kuban.

During last season, it looked pretty clear that Hervey was already a player on the rise. He averaged 12.3 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.9 steals, and 1.1 assists per game in EuroCup.

Over the summer, Hervey was courted by several teams, and the prospect of playing in EuroLeague was possible for a while.

"Several teams followed him, both EuroLeague and EuroCup teams. But Panathinaikos and Virtus Bologna were definitely the most interested in him", a source with knowledge of Hervey's situation told Basketnews. 

"Coach Priftis had seen him playing in VTB League and was a fan of his game, he really wanted to bring him to Panathinaikos after he left UNICS. For the coach, he was definitely ready to give an immediate contribution at the EuroLeague level", the source added. 

"Virtus Bologna convinced him with more of a long-term project, their scouting department had great reviews on the player, and the management was fully convinced that he was the perfect 4 for the roster.

There was kind of a bidding war between Panathinaikos and Virtus, but in the end, he decided to sign with Virtus. He knew that Virtus had high ambitions and was a good environment to play in, he had received great feedback from his agents", another source told Basketnews. 

Other teams flirted with the idea of making a move for Hervey, including Turkish side Fenerbahce, a source told Basketnews, but in the end, they decided to follow other ideas. 

"We wanted to add physicality and athletic skills in a key position like the number 4 but still maintaining the ability to spread the floor with shooting abilities. Hervey has all these skills, and he's still a very young player with room to improve even more", said Paolo Ronci, the general director of Virtus Bologna, when he introduced the player. 

Hervey's versatility is definitely a tool that has intrigued many executives and authorized personnel around Europe.

"He's a versatile big man who can bring a lot of things to the table. He can generate scoring opportunities with his post-up game, he has a decent three-point shot and can play effectively both in pick & roll and in pick & pop situations, making him a threat on different levels.

He's able to use his athleticism in a smart way, and he brings that versatility also on the defensive side of his game", an EuroLeague scout told Basketnews. 

The great mobility, a slender frame, very long arms, and the ability to run the floor in transition make Hervey already a key player for Virtus Bologna.

With a 224 cm wingspan, Hervey is also a beast on the passing lanes, constantly able to deflect passes and generate steals.

He's averaging 4 steals per game in the first few games of the Italian Serie A, sure, we're talking about a very small sample, but still, his numbers have been absolutely impressive on both ends of the floor. 

Coach Sergio Scariolo is re-paying him with a lot of trust, playing him for 25 minutes per game so far, the second of the team per minutes played per game behind only Kyle Weems, another very important player for Virtus Bologna.

With the recent addition of another very athletic and energetic player in JaKarr Sampson, Virtus Bologna's defensive force is destined to become even more impressive, considering that also in the backcourt, there's a player like Pajola who can put a lot of pressure on the opponents. 

While it's still a very early stage of the season, Kevin Hervey is already building his case to become a serious candidate for the MVP title in the Italian Serie A. There's no doubt that he will also be a factor in the EuroCup, a competition that he knows already.

Arriving in a club like Virtus Bologna, one of the most historical ones in Italy, and immediately producing at a high level, it's not something so common, and Hervey is making it look easy.

Whether his time with Virtus will be long or short, it's not hard to wonder that Kevin Hervey is a name that we'll keep hearing a lot in the coming years. 

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