Hard work, dedication pay off for Cohee
Basketball has long been Jadon Cohee’s life.
He has loved the game since he first picked up a basketball when he was just a couple of years old.
His parents were both former basketball players, but the game wasn’t forced upon him.
The athletic Cohee always excelled at whatever sport he happened to be playing, but basketball was the one for him.
“I always gravitated towards basketball,” he explained.
“I knew from a young age that I loved the sport.
“I just had more fun playing basketball than hitting a baseball or kicking a soccer ball, so I knew that was the sport I was going to pick.”
This was in the seventh grade and what followed was one of the most outstanding careers ever in the province in the history of B.C. high school boys basketball.
Only two basketball players have scored more points in their career at the 4A B.C. high school boys basketball provincial championships, the highest tier in the province. Previously, this level had been 3A but 2013/14 marked the first year a fourth tier had been added.
Cohee, who graduates from Walnut Grove Secondary in June, finished his high school career with 264 points in a dozen games over three years.
That total puts him behind just Richmond’s Pasha Bains (317 points in 12 games in 1996 and 1998) and Sir Charles Tupper’s Cameron Smythe (276 points in 13 games from 2010, 2011 and 2012).
“If any kid (passed me), I would have been happy if it was Jadon,” said Bains.
Bains, who runs Drive Basketball Academy, has known Cohee for the past six years when the then-seventh grader joined the program.
“For me personally, the fact he finishes as the third all-time leading scorer, the fact both our names are in the record book together, that means a lot.
“We have talked pretty much every day since he joined Drive.”
When Cohee arrived at Drive, Bains said the coaches knew he was a good player.
“We always knew he was a good player but for him to elevate himself to one of the best high school players ever around here, it is a huge accomplishment,” Bains said.
“He improved every year and added something to his game, a different dimension to his game.”
Left to right: Jadon Cohee in Grade 9, 10, 11 and 12, for the Walnut Grove Gators.
Gary Ahuja/Langley Times file photos
Cohee joined the Gators senior program in Grade 10 and that first year, Walnut Grove came within a shot of winning the provincial title, falling 75-74 to the Terry Fox Ravens. Cohee earned a first team all-star tournament award for his play.
Last year, with Cohee leading the way, the Gators completed the task, winning the championship 59-53 over the White Rock Christian Academy Warriors.
Cohee was named most valuable player.
And last month, the Gators lost in the quarter-finals to the eventual champion Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs, 75-70.
Walnut Grove would place seventh and Cohee earned second team all-star honours.
For his part, Cohee said it was a great honour to be third on the all-time scoring list.
“I believe you get what you put in, so I worked really hard and deserved everything I got,” he said.
“(And) I had great coaching and everyone was very positive and believed in me and helped me become the player I am today.
“They never let me make any excuses and that really helped me become the player I am today.”
Even before his final year of high school, Cohee, a six-foot-four point guard, had accepted a scholarship offer to join the Seattle University Redhawks.
And while he is ready for the challenges playing at a Division 1 NCAA program will bring, Cohee looks back fondly at his high school playing days and knows he will miss them.
“It was the best time of my life; I got to do what I love every day,” he said.
“It didn’t hit me until a couple of weeks ago,” Cohee said about the realization that his high school days are over.
“These are the same guys you have been playing with for the past four or five years and knowing you will probably never play with any of them again, it is sad.”
Cohee has been selected to play in the B.C. high school all-star game on Sunday (April 20) at 5 p.m. at the Langley Events Centre.
There is also a girls high school all-star game, which tips off at 3 p.m.
That game features a pair of Langley players with Jessie Brown, of the Brookswood Bobcats, and Amy Sprangers, of the Holy Cross Crusaders, both selected to play.