Another assist for Steve Nash
Imagine receiving a phone call with the person on the other end claiming to be the most well-known Canadian professional basketball player of all time?
That is exactly what Jadon Cohee faced this summer.
When Cohee answered the phone call, his initial thought was it was one of his friends, playing a prank on him.
After all, the voice on the other end — the call display said it was an Ontario number — was claiming to be two-time NBA most valuable player Steve Nash of the Los Angeles Lakers.
“I was like, this has to be a joke,” Cohee admitted.
But Cohee, who had spoken to Nash years earlier and has heard countless interviews done by Nash, recognized the voice.
It just so happened that Nash was going to be in the Lower Mainland for a few days and was looking for a workout partner.
So for three days in July, Cohee met with the soon-to-be 40-year-old Nash at a gym in Burnaby.
It was one former B.C. high school Triple-A MVP — Nash won the award in 1992 after leading Victoria’s St. Michael’s University to the title — training with the reigning MVP, as Cohee was the recipient of the award last March after helping the Walnut Grove Gators win the championship.
“It was just an unreal experience,” Cohee described of working out with Nash, who was rehabbing some injuries.
“We did a lot of strength training and a lot of balance exercises.”
Nash also helped Cohee with both on-court and off-court challenges.
“He taught me basically never get down on yourself and keep working,” said Cohee, who is in his final season of high school before he departs to Seattle University in September on a basketball scholarship.
“And he showed me some things mechanically that I need to change.”
Cohee was asked to keep their workouts quiet until after they were done, but he did get to snap some photos with Nash.
It meant that when Cohee went to tell his friends what he had been doing, they were initially skeptical.
“They didn’t believe me but I had a couple of pictures, so they had to,” he said.
Cohee returned to the Gators line-up over the weekend as Walnut Grove played at the Legal Beagle tournament in Port Coquitlam.
He missed five games with an ankle injury.
“It was extremely hard, it is tough watching,” he said.
“I get way more nervous when it is a close game and I am sitting on the bench instead of playing.”
The Gators finished third at the tournament despite Cohee winning the tournament’s most valuable player award.
Cohee scored 40-plus points in both of the first two games, an 87-83 win over the Yale Lions and then an 83-76 loss to the Gleneagle Talons in the semifinals.
Walnut Grove entered the tournament at 14-0 and ranked first among the Quad-A schools in the province. The Lions were an honourable mention while the Talons had recently dropped from second to ninth.
The Gators did rebound to win the third-place game, 70-52 over the No. 8 Terry Fox Ravens, who hosted the tournament.
Walnut Grove’s Bryce Derton was named a second team all-star as well.