KAUKAUNA - From the start of his freshman season you could tell Sandy Cohen had talent. Long, lanky and athletic, Cohen oozed potential, but the big question was, could he harness the talent and become a potential Division I college basketball recruit?
Now in the final summer of his high school career, the senior-to-be at Seymour has answered the question — he is a Division I recruit.
Since his AAU season tipped off this spring the 6-foot-5 Cohen has raced up the recruiting boards, drawing numerous offers from throughout the country. Cohen is a no-doubt Division I recruit but this spring even he has been surprised by the attention.
"I know I had confidence in myself, but I don't know if I had this much confidence," said Cohen, who averaged 17 points and 8 rebounds last season. "Things went crazy this spring. I started getting a lot of publicity and I got my name out there in EYBL (Nike Elite Youth Basketball) circuit and my name just exploded. It's kind of good knowing all my hard work that I've been doing has paid off."
Cohen's talent has never been a secret. He always seems to be seconds away from making another highlight, but Seymour coach Jon Murphy said it's always been about developing Cohen as a player.
"Anybody can see he is a Division I athlete and his challenge is to become a Division I basketball player and understand the game," Murphy said. "He's come a long way in those kinds of respects. You know, you watch him play and you see the flash and the flare and the dunks and the ability to hit the three. He's got all the pieces."
Including a 3-point shot, something Murphy said didn't exist a couple years ago.
"He's always been kind of a slasher, get-to-the-rim type of kid and now he can shoot the three," he said. "We've really challenged him to become a complete player, hit the three, get to the rim, have a mid-range game, have a post-up game. He's got those pieces."
Murphy knew when Cohen joined the Seymour program he had great ability, calling Cohen and teammate Dakota Oskey potentially the best athletes he's ever coached. But beyond the court Murphy has watched a kid overcome some big obstacles in his life.
"I'm really proud of the kid and probably don't tell him that enough," Murphy said. "I'm usually just harping on him what he needs to do better, but he's worked hard and overcome a lot of things in his life. He's becoming a really good, young man."
Cohen, who noted schools are projecting him to be a point guard or a shooting guard, said his dream growing up was to become a Division I college basketball player. After this spring, there's no question about it, his dream will come true.
Among the schools who have offered Cohen are Green Bay, Marquette, Milwaukee, Minnesota, Gonzaga, Auburn, Creighton and Purdue this past week. Cohen is enjoying the recruiting process. Murphy said Cohen's top three appear to be Marquette, Minnesota and Gonzaga.
Nowhere to be found is Wisconsin, which appears to have no interest in Cohen. Nonetheless, that doesn't dampen Cohen's spirit.
"This is awesome," he said. "This is always been my dream since I could remember. I always wanted to go big Division I and my dream was to go to the NBA, so those are my dreams. Hopefully, I can keep working at that goal and maybe I can make my dreams become reality."
The NBA? Maybe someday Cohen could replace LeBron James on the Miami Heat.
Said Cohen, laughing, "I don't know if I'll take it that far, but we'll see."
For now, Cohen is content where he is. But it sure appears he will be going places.
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay
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