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Basketball's a Year-Round Sport for This Budding AFS Junior
After the Abington Friends School basketball team plays its final game of the season in February, many of the players will have to find something else to do in their off-time. But not 17-year-old junior Bryan Cohen, who will actually be looking ahead to much more basketball.
Cohen will eventually be moving on to a summer-long season with the Huntington Park Warriors, his Amateur Athletic Union team from Philadelphia, which in the past took him to places like Chicago, Las Vegas and North Carolina. He also plans to participate in showcase tournaments for Division I college coaches.
"Basketball is all-year-round for me," said Cohen, a 6-foot, 5-inch power forward. "Summer is where it's really hectic. It's an open period, where college coaches are allowed to come to individual workouts and all kinds of tournaments. They call all the time."
Cohen, from Huntingdon Valley, has been averaging about 15 points per game so far this season. In a conversation before the end of the calendar year, Cohen mentioned that he's being recruited by Penn State University and some schools from the Atlantic 10 Conference, but he's still far from any decisions.
Cohen honed his basketball skills over the years by playing on various Maccabi teams, progressing from an 8-year-old in the JCC leagues to traveling to Tel Aviv in 2005 to help the 16 and under national boys basketball team capture the gold medal at the 17th Maccabiah Games.
"It was a great experience to meet kids from all across the world who are Jewish," said Cohen of his three-week trip.
Back in October, Cohen helped a team of Philadelphia Maccabi players defeat Israeli all-stars in an exhibition at St. Joseph's University.
Cohen developed his basketball skills alongside his older brother Aron, 20, now playing ball at the University of Pennsylvania.
"I learned from him how to be a leader of the team, not only to set an example during the game but also in practice," said Cohen, who played for Abington Friends as a freshman while his brother was a senior. "Every day, you have got to work hard and show the team that you're the hardest working player"
This season, Abington Friends holds a record of nine wins and five losses, and Cohen believes they have a good chance to repeat as champions of the Friends Schools League.
"I feel good," he said. "We're real undersized but we play teams that are bigger than us real tough."
Out of all the players that coach Steve Chadwin has seen over the years, Cohen is "right up there" with the best of them.
"[He's] by far one of the hardest working athletes that I've ever coached, plus his attitude is unbelievable," said Chadwin, who has more than 400 career wins. "He plays, doesn't open his mouth and when he gets to college, there's going to be a college coach who's going to love him because he just plays. He's highly coachable, a hard worker and he's a good kid."