An Evening of Dance

Commentary: The Indispensable David Cohn

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November 14, 2016

5:16 PM

On March 6, then-sophomore David Cohn’s last-second three-point attempt fell off the rim, and the Tribe lost a 70-67 heartbreaker to Hofstra in the 2015-16 Colonial Athletic Association tournament semifinals.

Now a junior and a captain, Cohn is confident he and the rest of the team have learned from the loss and are ready to make the jump to win the CAA tournament and earn a berth to the NCAA tournament.

“I think all of us have a chip on our shoulders, individually and collectively as a team,” he said. “Even though we don’t really talk about it [making the tournament], I think in the back of our minds that’s the one thing we’re all very hungry for and motivates each and every one of us every day.”

Even though we don’t really talk about it [making the tournament], I think in the back of our minds that’s the one thing we’re all very hungry for and motivates each and every one of us every day,” Cohn said.

Confident in making the first NCAA tournament in school history even after losing Terry Tarpey ’16?  If the Tribe couldn’t make it with phenom and NBA draft pick Marcus Thornton ’15, why would they do any better this year?

It sounds crazy, but I’m all aboard the Tribe-to-the-NCAA-tournament train. This year’s Tribe team seems to have the right mix of experience and skill. Oh yeah, and of course they have Cohn.

Undeniably the College’s most indispensable player, Cohn possesses a unique skill-set that is unmatched in his peers. This isn’t to discredit his teammates, but rather to credit Cohn’s versatility and importance.

Cohn’s passing is top-notch, as he led the team with 4.6 assists per game last season to go along with a 3:1 assist to turnover ratio. However, Cohn also established himself as a scoring threat, headlined by 37.3 percent shooting from three-point range last season, good for second-best on the team behind NCAA leader junior guard Connor Burchfield. On a team filled with a litany of scoring threats, Cohn himself led the team in scoring on five occasions.

Every game is different, depending on what the defense is giving you. If someone gets hot, I’ll feed them early. Maybe if the offense is a little stagnant, I’ll look for my own shot a little more. It’s a feel thing,” Cohn said.

This season, Cohn looks to have taken further strides in his scoring. In the Green and Gold Scrimmage, despite being the smallest player on the floor, Cohn made multiple moves to slice around and past longer and stronger defenders to finish through contact at the rim. As such an adept passer, Cohn spoke on how he works to balance the two on offense.

“Every game is different, depending on what the defense is giving you. If someone gets hot, I’ll feed them early. Maybe if the offense is a little stagnant, I’ll look for my own shot a little more. It’s a feel thing,” Cohn said.

Cohn’s willingness and ability to adjust on the fly will be the key to the Tribe’s offense this season and ensure that all the scorers surrounding him will shine.

Defensively, Cohn is also a nightmare matchup, as his lateral quickness and ability to force turnovers make him tough to shake. He was second on the team last season with 26 steals, a number that almost certainly will increase this season. As good as he is individually on defense, Cohn recognizes that team defense will be the most important part of this season.

“Honestly, the loss of Terry Tarpey on defense is huge for us,” Cohn said. “I mean, two-time defensive player of the year. I think the number-one emphasis the coaching staff has made to us is that we need to be a great team-oriented defense. Losing Terry, we lose our best individual defender. I think that we could have a better year than last year defensively.”

I think the number-one emphasis the coaching staff has made to us is that we need to be a great team-oriented defense,” Cohn said.

Individually, it’s clear that Cohn put in the work this offseason to be ready to make huge strides as a junior. He spoke of continuing to work on his shot, as well as preparing his body for the season.

“I tried putting on weight, and that just doesn’t work for me, so just [focused on] getting stronger,” Cohn said. “I have gotten stronger, and that of course is important when you’re defensively, offensively taking bumps.”

Cohn’s maturity and leadership allow him to realize the road to the top of the CAA won’t be easy. But, he is ready to embrace both the challenges of conference play as well as early season matchups.

“Every kid’s dream who has ever played basketball is to play at Cameron Indoor,” he said about the non-conference game at preseason No. 1 Duke. “If that’s not enough motivation to get ready for the game and live up to the moment, then I don’t know what is.”

Every kid’s dream who has ever played basketball is to play at Cameron Indoor,” he said about the non-conference game at preseason No. 1 Duke. “If that’s not enough motivation to get ready for the game and live up to the moment, then I don’t know what is.”

While the game at Duke will likely not be a Tribe win, Cohn recognizes that an occasional loss is all part of the process.

“There’s just so much energy around the opportunities that we have in front of us this year,” Cohn said. “I think you’re going to see a high level of effort, and Omar, Daniel and I will try to make sure the lows are few and far between.”

I, for one, believe in Cohn. Regardless of the team’s performance, the lows individually for Cohn will definitely be few and far between, as I feel he will establish himself as the top guard in the conference and guide the Tribe to its first NCAA tournament berth in school history. Some may say it’s far-fetched, but I believe.

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About Author

  • Chris Travis

Sports editor Chris Travis '19 is a chemistry major from Downingtown, PA. He was previously Associate Sports Editor.