Morgantown, West Virginia – In West Virginia’s season debut, several of the returning Mountaineers looked very good and greatly improved.
Jalen Bridges appeared stronger and more willing to attack the rim. Big man Isaiah Cottrell showed off his ability to shoot from the perimeter. Gabe Osabuohien has progressed tremendously on the offensive side of the ball. Sean McNeil is able to create his own shot more effectively.
But the one player that truly stole the show was true freshman Kobe Johnson, a 6’3 point guard from Canton, Ohio. As a senior at Canton McKinley High School, Johnson averaged 20.7 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game, shooting 51.1 percent from the floor and 40.6 percent from 3-point range.
Johnson was named the Ohio Division I Player of the Year by the Ohio Prep Sports Writers Association last year and somehow manged to fly under the radar with offers from only Cleveland State, Miami (Ohio), Bowling Green, Akron, Youngstown State, Ohio, Duquesne, UT Martin and Stetson.
West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins is highly respected everywhere in basketball but particularly in the state of Ohio and was able to convince this diamond in the rough to come to Morgantown.
Last night, in his first appearance with the Mountaineers, Johnson showed just how talented and capable he is as a freshman, scoring 16 points on 6-7 from the field and 4-5 from three point range.
In addition, Bob Huggins recently raved about Johnson’s ability handle the basketball. “Kobe’s ball security might be the best of anyone on the team,” Huggins said. “He’s a freshman, but when you play at Canton McKinley, you play pretty good competition. He’s probably a little more prepared for what was coming than the other freshmen. They play a great schedule there (at Canton McKinley).”
Johnson, who has a massive 7 foot wingspan, is a smart, physical athlete who possesses a college-ready body and is the kind of big, strong guard that Huggins has been successful with in the past.
Although it’s very early in the career of Kobe Johnson, he appears ready to compete this season as a freshman and go on to become another in the long line of outstanding guards recently produced by the great Bob Huggins.
Soon enough, the WVU Coliseum will loudly erupt in the chants of “KOBE! KOBE! KOBE!”