Trolli Transformation: How did Spanish Fort Guard Kolby Horace lose 50 pounds?
Spanish junior basketball player Kolby Horace wasn’t exactly excited when coach Jimbo Tolbert recommended him to join the school’s cross-country team last summer.
“When he told me, I was like, ‘I don’t know,’” Horace said. “But before that, my brother and I would wake up and cycle for miles. I thought, ‘It can’t get any worse than that.’ “
So Horace, needing to lose weight after breaking his ankle early in his second season, joined Toros’ cross country team in the fall.
The plan worked like a charm.
Horace, one of the basketball team’s starting goalies, lost 50 pounds. He will lead the Toros (27-3) in the Class 6A state semifinals against Scottsboro at 11:30 am Monday at UAB’s Bartow Arena.
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“Maybe I need all of my guys to run cross country,” Tolbert joked of Horace’s transformation.
The 6-foot-3 Horace has always been an athletic player and a consistent shooter for Spanish Fort. However, he broke his ankle during a basketball game at Bay Minette the night before the Toros played in the 2019 State Championship soccer game. After the operation, he admits his style life was not the most active.
“I sat at home and played Madden all day and ate a lot of Trollis,” he said. “And, of course, my mom cooked for me. You know how moms are.
Horace’s weight climbed to 235 pounds. Remember, this is a guard not a post player.
“Every day I looked at myself in the mirror and thought, ‘I’m getting a little fat,’” he said. “I knew I had to be in better shape for my junior year.”
Horace spent five weeks in a boot, two of which were weightless. He was cleared to play again at the end of his second season and returned to the floor in the playoffs.
“We got to the region tournament and Kolby probably didn’t play as much as he wanted,” said Tolbert. “However, the minutes he played were decisive for us. We arrived at the regional level and he left the bench. Against Paul Bryant, I remember he made a nice pass for a dunk and had a nice fadeaway turnaround for a basket. At that point, I was like, ‘OK, he’s back to his normal self.’
It wasn’t quite the case, however. Horace was still too heavy. Tolbert knew it. Horace knew it.
Ben Redman, head coach of the women’s basketball school and assistant coach of the boys, is also the team’s cross-country coach.
“I think a men’s cross country title was the first Spanish state championship Fort has ever won and Ben was part of it,” said Tolbert. “He knows a little more. We talked about Kolby and how he needed to have a really good junior basketball season and stay healthy and part of that – a lot probably – meant losing weight.
“What really intrigued me was that Ben told me he could adapt the training to Kolby. When he said that, I knew I had to bring him out.
Tolbert launched his star guard?
“Look, if you do that, I’m never going to have to get you out of a game because you’re tired,” Tolbert said.
Horace has been sold.
Although he’s willing to admit it, his first day on the cross country team was tough.
“They ran like three miles and ten hills,” he said. “I ran like a mile and five hills, and I felt like I was going to die. It was hot there. Every day it was hot. I felt like it was 100 degrees.
But Horace knew it would help him in basketball, and he didn’t hate it.
“It was fun,” he said. “The football team was training at the same time, so I would talk to my friends during the breaks.”
Most importantly, the weight has fallen.
Once 235 pounds last summer, Horace is now 185.
“When I could really see it paying off, we had a controlled scrum,” said Tolbert. “Kolby got a rebound and a steal twice and went in and the dunks. I was like, ‘Oh Lord.’ I looked at Coach Redman and said, ‘We may have created a monster.’ “
Horace has been a freak on the pitch this year for sure. He averages 15.3 points per game and plays more than 25 minutes in each game.
“His IQ is on the next level,” Tolbert said. “It really helps. He scores basketball. If we need a basket, I will look at it and he will pick it up for us. He’s just a kid who exudes confidence. You just know it will do the job for you no matter what.
“What surprised me the most about his weight loss is that he has improved tremendously in defense. He’s probably leading the team in the flights. He understands so much better the rotations and where he needs to be. Thanks to this, he is able to take loads, to fly and to bring us in the transition, what we want to be.
Horace said this week’s goal in Birmingham was straightforward.
“No pressure,” he said. “We’re just going to go out there and do our job and come back with a trophy.”
Does her diet always include sugary treats?
“Yeah, always,” he said. “Cheerleaders almost buy me Trollis every game.”
MONDAY CLASS 6A GAMES
BARTOW ARENA, UAB
Hazel Green (34-1) vs. McGill-Toolen Catholic (23-5), 9 a.m.
Chelsea (27-5) vs. Carver-Montgomery (15-4), 2 p.m.
Scottsboro (25-4) vs. Spanish Fort (27-3), 11:30 a.m.
Mountain Brook (28-6) vs. Eufaula (27-5), 4:30 p.m.