Retracing Kobe Paras' accelerated basketball journey
ABS-CBN Sports on Mar 09, 2018 06:40 PM
Kobe Paras has come a long way. After his announcement to go pro, however, he may go even further. (File Photo from FIBA)
Filipino basketball star Kobe Paras' journey has taken him from the halls of La Salle Greenhills into a possible stint in the NBA.
But it hasn't been the smoothest of roads for the son of PBA legend Benjie Paras.
Aside from his lofty personal goals, Kobe has also been dealing with the massive pressure of having a whole country's dreams resting on his shoulders.
After Kobe announced his decision to forgo his college stint with the Cal-State-Northridge Matadors, in favor of taking his talents to the pros, let's take a look back at the 6'6" wunderkind's rough, tantalizing, and well-documented road to posibly the biggest stage in basketball.
LA Cathedral High School - 2014
Kobe played for two years for the De La Salle Greenhills juniors basketball team, before deciding to take his talents to the greener pastures of the U.S.
He found a home in the Cathedral High School of Los Angeles, and eventually, he also found success.
Playing for the Phantoms as a junior, Kobe averaged 15 points per game, and was even ranked as the 24th-best player in California by a scouting website.
Middlebrooks Academy - August 29, 2015
After a season with the Phantoms, Kobe suited up for the Middlebrooks Academy and played a full season in the seniors.
With Middlebrooks, he was able to gain attention from Division 1 schools from the US NCAA, and was even a nominee for the vaunted McDonald's All-American Game.
Paras' stellar play paved the way for his eventual commitment to the UCLA Bruins.
Kobe commits to the UCLA Bruins - Nov 12, 2015
Paras, then 18 years old, shared that he has committed to the University of California - Los Angeles, home of the Bruins, where players like Kevin Love, and Russell Westbrook hailed from.
Fun Fact: Paras was initially part of the rookie Bruin class that included current Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball.
Unexpected exit from UCLA - June 30, 2016
He could've played alongside Lonzo too, but it was not meant to be as Kobe was forced to drop his commitment to the Bruins after reportedly "Failing to meet their academic requirements."
Creighton commitment - July 18, 2016:
Creighton guard Kobe Paras takes time out of his schedule for a few interviews with the Filipino media back home that follow his every move. pic.twitter.com/wbiBYxJVX4— Creighton Men’s Basketball (@BluejayMBB) October 27, 2016
After a tumultuous couple of weeks, following his exit from UCLA, Paras moved on.
He found a new home in the Division I school Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.
In his first and only season with Creighton, Kobe played 15 games and tallied a total 20 points and 15 rebounds in 70 total minutes.
Coming off the bench, the first Pinoy Bluejay averaged 1.3 points, .09 rebounds in 4.7 minutes per game.
Leaving Creighton in search of a bigger role - April 29, 2017
Obviously, his freshman production for the Bleujays was not as eye-popping as his high school numbers.
Being a second-stringer for the team and averaging less than five minutes a game urged Paras to find another place to showcase and improve his game.
Kobe left Creighton mid-2017, thus kickstarting another episode of his ongoing saga.
Commitment to CSUN - May 9, 2017
Less than two weeks after leaving Creighton, Paras announced that he was back in the Golden State to play for California State University-Northridge.
As a transferee, Kobe had to redshirt one year under coach Reggie Theus, as per NCAA rules, but he made the most out of his downtime.
Representing the Philippines in the FIBA 3x3 World Cup - June 17-21, 2017
Kobe joined rising stars Kiefer Ravena, Jeron Teng, and veteran big man JR Quinahan to represent the Philippines in the FIBA 3x3 World Cup in nantes, France.
There, Kobe was able to dazzle the world with his high-flying and improve play that caught reignited many Filipinos' belief in him.
He also wowed the crowd with his slam dunk contest performance, even pulling off a rad Vince Carter tribute.
Team Pilipinas eventually finished with a 2-2 slate to settle with an 11th place finish in the tournament.
Kobe Paras wins SEA Games Gold with Gilas Pilipinas - August 26, 2017
Paras then suited up for flag and country as Gilas Pilipinas stamped its basketball class on its Southeast Asian neighbors in the 2017 SEA Games.
Paras starred in the gold medal game against Indonesia, going for 14 points on 6-of-6 shooting, including two emphatic highlight dunks to punctuate the 94-55 win for the Filipinos.
Everyone loves Kobe Paras pic.twitter.com/pyqFaCIpcM— Camille B. Naredo (@camillenaredo) August 26, 2017
It's the country's 12th straight SEA Games gold medal in men's basketball, and 18th overall.
"I'm going pro" - March 9, 2018
Kobe Paras caught basically everyone off-guard with his afternoon announcement that he was going to move on from college and go directly to the pros.
After playing just one actual season of collegiate basketball in the U.S., it was time for a change for the prodigy.
While he has not taken the easiest of roads, Kobe's move will inevitably lead to other opportunities that'll help him inch towards his ultimate goal.