Last season, we featured Sophomore guard Korey Hess: a walk-on whose energy is contagious, and his passion; obvious.
This season, he’s still the same charismatic, team-loving guy. But one day at practice, he experienced something he never saw coming: a scholarship.
Head Coach Jeff Wulbrun gathered the team for a normal film review session in Hamilton Gymnasium. He then started gushing about Hess’ effort during practice, which he does quite often. But then he said this, “You embrace your role, you do everything you can. That’s why you’re a significant contributor to this basketball team and that’s why you’re on scholarship for the rest of this season!” The team then started screaming and tackling Hess, who couldn’t help but smile in disbelief.
A walk-on, turned scholarship player.
“It’s a surreal, surreal feeling,” said Hess. “I feel blessed. I feel lucky. I don’t know what words can really describe what I’m feeling. I was just so happy. It was the first time I’d actually been at a loss for words in my life. I didn’t know what to say, what to do.”
Hess has averaged just two minutes a game during his career at DU, but it’s not about that. It’s his intangibles that have impressed Coach Wulbrun.
“Korey brings three things: energy, effort, and enthusiasm,” said Wulbrun. “He not only brings it but he has this charismatic personality, infectious personality, and that great great feeling everyday just spreads to the rest of the team. He never has a bad day. There’s just tremendous appreciation for all his contributions.”
Hess is the son of Alicia and Steve Hess. Steve is the former strength and conditioning coach for the Denver Nuggets.
“Being able to tell my parents and have that to help them and almost just kinda like a reward for all these years of work, it was a really cool celebration. It was something that I was really proud of to share with my parents.”
It’s the belief he felt deep down that made him keep chasing something he didn’t know would ever come, “My parents always told me that belief is the strongest thing you can do in this world. You need to believe in yourself before any other person believes in you. No matter where you are and what your life looks like.”