Many people wonder what happens to a team or program when a legendary player leaves. Some programs continue to dominate. But others can struggle. For example, Larry Bird left Indiana State and since it has not been to pretty. So when Stephen Curry left Davidson many wondered what would happen to their basketball program. Well never fear, they are in the hands of Jake Cohen. Cohen is the spark that Davidson needed once Curry took his game to the NBA. This summer Cohen took his game to Israel and Europe and has been showcasing his game on an international stage. Oh yeah, he was first team TGR All American as well. We caught up with Cohen during his busy schedule to talk basketball, replacing Curry, and Israel.
1) Tell the TGR fans a little bit about yourself?
My name is Jake Cohen, born and raised in Berwyn, Pennsylvania. I attended Conestoga High School, and now Davidson College. I have one older brother, Josh, who played football at Dartmouth, and my father was also a basketball player at Haverford College (division 3).
2) What are you doing this summer to stay in shape?
This summer I’ve been playing with the under-20 Israeli National Team. I started out training in Tel Aviv on June 10th, then at the end of the month we scrimmaged against Romania and Bulgaria, in their respective countries, and then it was on to Austria in July for the European Championships. We finished 5th in the competition, out of 17 teams. I was the tournaments leading scorer and was named to the all-tournament team.
3) How has your Israel experience been?
It’s been a truly amazing experience for me. I got to see some of the world, I explored more of my Jewish heritage, experienced a high level of European basketball, and became great friends with my teammates. I had an amazing time, and mostly the people of the national team are to thank for that, for including me so well right away, and never making me feel like an outsider.
4) After Stephen Curry left Davidson, you stepped in as really the go-to-guy, have those been big shoes to fill?
Well to be honest I’m not sure anyone can fill Steph’s shoes, so I haven’t tried. I’ve just tried to help Davidson out as best I can, and get us as many wins as possible.
5) Have you ever played with Curry? What was that like?
Yes I’ve played with Steph a good amount, he was my host on my official visit to Davidson, and he comes and works out with us in the spring and summers. He is unbelievable to play against, and incredible to play with. But he brings a whole other level of play, and that will only make our team better.
6) What are some team goals for next year? How is the team looking?
I think one of our team goals this year is to win the Southern Conference and get back to the tournament. We need to get our confidence level up to where we expect to dominate every conference team, the way Davidson is used to playing.
7) After your college days, where do you see yourself?
It has always been my dream to play professional basketball in the NBA, and it still is my dream. So once I’ve graduated from College, hopefully I can make that dream come true.
8) Who is the best player you ever had to guard?
The best player I ever had to guard….I would have to say my older brother. Even though he decided to play football, he can flat out hoop. I’ve covered him a lot, and I mean a lot, and he has this nasty habit of making every shot he takes when I cover him. It must be a big brother thing, I don’t know.
9) Any other Jewish college players we should look out for?
My man Bryan Cohen and I played AAU ball together for Team Philly, and now he’s having himself a great career at Bucknell.
Thank you to Jake Cohen for answering our questions. Good luck and we will be keeping an eye on the Wildcats this season.
And Let Us Say…Amen.