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Kobe Johnson Looking to Make Immediate Impact For WVU

One of the seven new members of this year’s West Virginia men’s basketball team is Kobe Johnson, who will bring an immense amount of talent to the guard position for the Mountaineers.

The guard has been described as a consistent and reliable shooter on the offensive end of the floor, especially from three-point range throughout his time in high school. Johnson does not seem to be lacking on the defensive end either while providing guard coverage with quick hands and feet to react to offensive attacks.

“I don’t have a preference what I play, I’m willing to do whatever the coach needs me to do, if he wants to run the one, play the two I’m able to do that,” Johnson said. “The ball’s always been in my hands just as the best player or the best ball handler and I always played with older guys so that just helped me from there.”

While at Canton McKinley High School, the 6-foot 3-inch guard was named the Ohio Division I Player of the Year award by the Ohio Prep Sports Writers Association. Johnson has talked about his jump from high school to college basketball.

“It was a pretty big jump, guys are bigger and stronger, as I came here it was pretty tough but just kept on working,” Johnson said. “The speed, coming from high school I can play at my own pace, I’m just bigger and stronger than guys but the game is going so fast just got to adjust.”

While Johnson was named a Division I Player of the Year he was able to record 20.7 points per game and 4.5 rebounds his senior year of high school. The same season saw the guard shoot a total 51.1 percent from the floor and make 40.6 percent from three.

Johnson has a pretty cool story of how his name came to be Kobe after another pretty good basketball player in the late great Kobe Bryant.

“My mom was a big fan of Kobe Bryant,” explained Johnson. “When I was younger, I used to wear No. 8 and 24. When I was eight, I had a Kobe-themed birthday with Gatorade and posters and all of that. Holding that name is kind of strong.”

So far through West Virginia’s practices and exhibition game in this young season, Johnson has looked like a player that is confident in bringing the ball up the court as well as one who can shoot and move around on the floor.

“As a player I feel like I can do everything. I can score the ball, I can play defense, I can assist, rebound. Weakness, I feel like you can always get better at shooting, there’s always room for improvement,” Johnson said.

In Johnson’s 23 minutes of action against Akron in West Virginia’s exhibition game on Friday, the freshman went 4-of-7 from the floor shooting overall while racking in eight points. The eight points notched Johnson tied for third on the team in total points alongside redshirt freshman forward Isaiah Cottrell.

The Gold-Blue scrimmage earlier this month also saw Johnson stick out on the offensive end of the floor shooting for 16 points.

The Mountaineers will be back in action next week when the team begins their regular season slate of games against Oakland on Nov. 9, at 7 p.m. ET.

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