Kobe's new NCAA coach outlines his path to success in the US

Paul Lintag, ABS-CBN Sports

Posted at Jul 20 2017 07:41 PM

If Kobe Paras wants to find success at Cal State Northridge, and eventually, hopefully, in the NBA, he has to develop a consistent basketball shot, according to coach Reggie Theus. Josh Albeda, ABS-CBN Sports

The path has been set for Kobe Paras in the United States.

If the uber-athletic, 19-year-old rising star wants to find success at his new school, Cal State Northridge, and eventually, hopefully, in the NBA, he has to develop a consistent basketball shot.

That's it.

That is according to his new head coach Reggie Theus anyway.

Theus, who is in town for NBA Cares and NBA 3x Philippines, talked about Paras who recently transferred from Creighton University to play for the Matadors in the US NCAA Division 1.

The former two-time NBA All-Star said that Paras, who has world-class athleticism, has to arm himself with a refined outside game to truly unleash his potential.

"If you're gonna play professionally, you have to have a niche," Theus said of Paras on Wednesday at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines where the NBA turned over a brand-new court.

"Right now, his niche in college basketball is athleticism. Everybody is athletic in the NBA so as he gets further, he's gotta develop a more consistent basketball shot. That's really all he has to do, I think he has every other tool he needs. Defensively, he's got a good mentality. I think his IQ is strong," he added.

Averaging 18.5 points and 6.3 assists throughout his NBA career, Theus says his main focus on developing Paras is to help him put the ball through the hoop in ways that is not dunking.

Aside from that, Theus plans on teaching Kobe everything he knows about basketball in order to help the youngster fulfill his ultimate basketball dream of making it to the NBA.

"I'll be able to work with his shot, he's a little inconsistent with his jump shot. I'm gonna be able to work on his shot and help him develop a more consistent shot," the UNLV product said.

"I know he has great aspirations to play in the NBA, I'm gonna give him everything that I know basketball-wise. I'm gonna teach him every trick in the book, everything that I've ever learned in basketball so that he has a great opportunity to play in the next level in the NBA," Theus added.

Before Kobe committed to UCLA and eventually found himsell at Creighton, Theus admitted that he tried to recruit Paras to come to CSUN to play his freshman year after he monitored the teenage star in high school.

And even then, Theus marveled at the athleticism showed by Paras, the main thing that put Kobe to the basketball spotlight as of right now really.

"The first time around [trying to recruit Kobe] was just how athletic he is. I saw him take the ball to the basket a couple of times and when I was watching him I'm like... really? I'm looking at this Filipino kid and he's going to the rim, his elbow is above the rim. I'm like oh okay, okay. I'll be watching this kid," Theus said.

"I remember watching him play, he was on a very high level AAU basketball team and many nights, when I watched, he was the best player on the floor. He is a tremendous basketball player with a lot of great future ahead of him," he added.

Theus is pretty high on Kobe's yet to be unlocked potential. And the 59-year-old head coach is pretty confident it's just a matter of time before Paras turns even the biggest doubters into believers.

"I think he works hard enough to do anything. It's just a matter of time. Every level that you go to, from high school to college and from college to the pros, you notice that pros as rookies, they don't shoot the ball that great," Theus said.

"In two or three years, they're better shooters. Because when you get to that level, that's all you do, you practice. In college, we'll spend the whole year working on his game. I expect him to make great strides this year, you guys be prepared, watch him," he added.

This story was originally published on the ABS-CBN Sports website.