REMEMBER former Barangay Ginebra import Fred Cofield?
The Eastern Michigan University standout who had a short stint as an import of Ginebra in the PBA in the nineties is currently the trainer of Joel Embiid, the projected number one pick in the upcoming NBA Draft.
The seven-foot Embiid is a freshman out of Kansas in the NCAA whose skill set has already drawn comparisons with those of NBA greats Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, and Tim Duncan.
Cofield is definitely impressed with his one-of-a-kind ward.
“I’ve never seen this kind of athlete, maybe ever,” said Cofield in an interview with NBA TV. “His athleticism is off the charts. He’s got a tremendous work ethic.”
The 6-3 former NBA cager helped Ginebra San Miguel reach the finals of the 1996 Governors Cup but was replaced by Derrick Rucker prior to Game Four against Alaska, which went on to complete its grand slam.
Now 52, Cofield, who played for a few seasons with the New York Knicks and the Chicago Bulls, is training several prospects ahead of the NBA Draft. But one player who clearly stands out is Embiid, who declared for the NBA Draft after just a year with the Wildcats.
“Anybody who knows him knows he can shoot the ball. He can shoot the ball, he has great touch around the basket, and he can shoot the 15-footer,” said Cofield.
In his only season with the Jayhawks, Embiid became a finalist for the Naismith Player of the Year award. He, however, missed the Big 12 Tournament due to a back injury, which is now a concern for several NBA teams eyeing the big man in the draft.
In an interview with CityLeagueHoops, Cofield was quick to allay fears about Embiid’s injured back.
“We waited to get 100 percent clearance from both his physical therapists and his doctors. He didn’t pick up a basketball for weeks. He is 100 percent healthy,” said Cofield.