Posted: 3:46 pm Wednesday, February 16th, 2011
By Jeff Greer
I stopped by Tuesday’s practice to speak with Summit Christian guard Farad Cobb, who’s the area’s leading scorer and a frontrunner for the Small Schools Player of the Year award.
Cobb (6-0, 160) averages 22 points and five assists a game. He’s made 96 three-pointers for the Saints, who are locked and loaded for another run in the Class 1A playoffs. Summit Christian (23-4) lost in the semifinals last year. Cobb, a junior, was a key figure of last year’s team, scoring 13-plus points a game. This year, paired with reigning Palm Beach Post Small Schools Player of the Year Jean Prophete, Cobb and company hope to avenge that semifinal loss.
The following is the transcript from my chat with Cobb after practice on Tuesday. We talked about how Cobb’s game has progressed, how he’s filled the role left behind by former Summit star wing Brice Jenkins and what it is about Cobb that makes him such a great scorer.
Your coach (Murray Smith) was telling me how much you’ve changed and progressed since your sophomore year. You came on pretty strong last year but you’ve taken your game up a level. What changed between sophomore and junior year that allowed you to do that?
Cobb: Experience. I took the things off the court that help me become a better basketball player more seriously. I was in the weight room more, running more, getting quicker, working on different ways to attack a defense, working on defensive skills, just trying to be a better all-around player.
You guys and Grandview Prep have college-sized lineups. How much does that help you as a guard who does his work out on the perimeter?
It makes it easier. We work it inside-out. Teams focus on (Summit power forward) Jean (Prophete) a lot, so I get a lot of space and I just go from there.
Coach was talking about the relationship you’ve developed with (point guard Kadeem Robinson) and how well it’s worked so far.
We’ve been playing together for a while. Sometimes, we just work on two-man stuff like ball screens, back-door cuts, different stuff. He knows where I’m gonna be.
Brice Jenkins got a lot of attention for being that perimeter scorer to work off Jean. How hard are those shoes to fill?
I’m ready for it all. I didn’t think anything of that. I came in this year ready to play.
Coach Smith got to that 500-win mark this year. What’s it like playing for a coach who’s been around the block?
It’s cool because he knows what he’s doing. We go into every game prepared. Everything works out. He teaches us to work on the small things and how we’ll get a good outcome if we do that.
You’ve been down the playoff road before. What will it take to get over that semifinal hump this year?
Like I said, the small things: boxing out, defense. Mostly defense. The offense will come if you play hard on defense. I think we’re mentally ready and focused. It’s natural. Once you get that, we just have to take care of business.
You hear a lot of criticism about teams and players playing in smaller classes. For example, people discount what Kelvin Taylor has done at Glades Day because of the class he plays in. Jean (Prophete) gets it, too. How do you respond to that stuff? Do you ever think about that?
Not really. I mean, I just let my game speak for itself. If we play anyone, the same stuff will happen. If you have talent, it’ll show, no matter who you play in games or where you’re playing.
How long have you been playing basketball?
I started playing growing up but I got really serious about in middle school.
What kinds of things were you doing to “get serious” about it?
I always try to do more than what everyone else is doing, outwork everyone. I always say, ‘What am I doing that nobody else is doing?’ That’s what I do to try to set myself apart.
So what does set you apart?
I can switch it up. I got a lot of things I can go to. I can shoot. I’ve got a floater going. I create turnovers on defense and get easy baskets. I go to the hole a little bit, run off of screens, back-door cuts. I try to do everything.
Is there a player you like to model your game after?
I always watch Brandon Knight, Austin Rivers. I like watching the guys who are in high school, who are phenoms. I always watch them on YouTube and break their game down and work on stuff.
So you try to mimic some of the stuff they’re doing?
Not all the way but just to get a feel of what they’re doing that’s setting them apart at the level they’re playing at.
What’re you thinking about now in terms of college?
I’m just waiting it out to see what comes. I had a pretty good year but I’m still not satisfied. There’s still more to come.