Sacrifice, love inspire Iola-Scandy player
Senior returns from Japan to play basketball
By Holly Neumann
There is no question that Kenny Holz stands out on Iola-Scandinavia High School’s basketball court.
The 6-foot, 2-inch senior guard averages 19.1 points per game and leads the Thunderbirds boys’ team in assists.
His parents, Meg Tomizawa of Chigasaki, Japan, and Dan Holz of Iola raised Kenny along with his brother Tony, together in Sharon, Wisconsin, before they split up and began raising them as single parents.
“When Kenny was 5, he moved to Japan with his mom to get to know her family and heritage,” Dan said.
He remained in Japan until he was 13 and expressed his desire to play American basketball.
“Initially, it was my decision to move back to the States, but it was my parents that made it all possible,” Kenny said.
Tomizawa admitted is was hard to watch her son go.
“Kenny’s eagerness to elevate himself to the best that he can be is what ultimately convinced me that letting him go back to the States was the right decision,” she said. “I knew it was good for him. He wanted to play basketball and we both thought that the U.S. would be a more favorable environment to do so.”
Tomizawa recently traveled approximately 6,500 miles to come and visit her sons and, of course, take in a few of Kenny’s games.
“I hope that it reminds him that he is supported and loved unconditionally,” she said. “Not only does he receive this support from me, but from the whole family.
“He has always loved basketball,” she added. “It’s satisfying to see his hard work pay off on the court with his teammates.”
Dan described his son as a bit strong-willed.
“This was the origin of his future one track mind for hoops: his determination and dedication to the sport,” he said. “This strong will would later make him think nothing of moving a third of the way around the world to chase his hoop dreams.”
Kenny described himself as a laid-back guy.
“I think I’m also very competitive and enthusiastic at the same time,” he said.
Basketball is a sport that has always been around.
“My dad played and we always had a hoop in our driveway,” Kenny said. “I started playing at a young age and loved it ever since.”
On the court, Harry Boyce has been the most influential person.
“He was my AAU basketball coach,” Kenny said. “He really taught me the love, passion and hard work that comes with the game.”
Off the court, his parents fill that role.
“Seeing all of the sacrifices they made and how hard they worked truly shaped me in to the person I am today,” Kenny said.
“I am most proud of his continuous willingness to pursue his passion,” Tomizawa said. “He is dedicated. I believe his strengths lie in his passion for the sport and he is willing to go to great lengths to become the best player he can become.”
“Every day, he motivates me to do more and be better,” Dan said.
Kenny is his grateful for having loving and dedicated parents.
“I feel extremely privileged to have been given the opportunity to experience both cultures at such a young age,” he said. “I can’t thank my parents enough for all of the sacrifices they have made. This motivates me to work even harder in everything I do.”