KOBE Paras has hardly made his presence felt so far in the presence of his elders at Gilas Pilipinas in the Jones Cup, but expect him to make an immediate impact when he’s finally eligible to play for his new college team next year.
Cal State Northridge coach Reggie Theus has high hopes for Paras, his prized recruit who’s undergoing a one-year residency after transferring from Creighton.
Theus, who’s in town to hold coaching and player clinics for the Gatorade NBA Training Center, expects Paras to contribute right away to a Matadors side that finished sixth out of eight teams with a 7-9 win-loss record in the last Big West Conference tournament, failing to get past the quarterfinals.
“I think Kobe’s going to push us over the top,” Theus said on Thursday. “I expect big things out of Kobe – as all you, too.”
“There’s no pressure on him,” he was quick to add. “I just want him to be a great teammate. I just want him to work hard every day, and allow the game to come to him. I won’t allow him to push, to try to take over, because he’s got to allow it to happen, and I think that’s most important for him.”
And redshirting for the Matadors this season will only augur well for the 19-year-old Paras.
“He’s got a whole year to sit out and work on his game,” Theus said. “I think it’s going to pay big dividends for him in the end because right now, he’s the youngest player on the Fiba three-on-three, so I want him to be one of the oldest players in our conference. He’s got another year to gain experience, to get stronger, and another year to understand what he has to do.”
Theus feels the 6-foot-6 Paras still has to work on his defense, but is already high on his ward’s athleticism.
“I just like his athleticism,” Theus said. “He’s got to get better defensively, but his athleticism is…I mean I think he’s going to be one of the most athletic kids in our conference – without a doubt.”
Theus, a 13-year NBA veteran who transitioned into coaching, having a one-year stint with the Sacramento Kings coach, before being a Minnesota Timberwolves assistant, believes sky is the limit for Kobe Paras as far as his future is concerned.
“I think he has a chance to be anything that he wants to be,” Theus said. “It depends on how hard he’s going to work for it.”