Paul Michnaemail@example.com David Cohn of York takes part in the York at Glenbard West boys basketball game Friday.
The rail-thin freshman drove into a lane filled with senior giants.
Fearless, though many thought foolish, he lofted a shot just over the outstretched arms of a soon-to-be Division I college basketball player. Through the hoop went the first 2 points of David Cohns time at York.
Forgive Cohn if he doesnt remember all of his 1,600 points with the Dukes. The four years have flown by too quickly for the memory to keep up.
At times the flight drifted into the unknown, much like that first shot. Through it all Cohn leaned on rare talent and an unwavering drive to be the best at the sport he loves.
While so much changed around him, Cohn remained steadfast in his desire to compete at the highest levels. His leadership stood as one of the few consistencies with Yorks basketball program during the last four years of constant shifts in the coaching staff.
At times he facilitated the accomplishments of others. Mostly, his talents facilitated the accomplishments of the team. He simply delivered on whatever was asked of him.
I wouldnt be near the player I am today without my coaches and teammates, Cohn said. Theyve meant the world to me.
With a combination of single-season dominance and four-year excellence, Yorks David Cohn is the 2012-13 Daily Herald DuPage County All-Area Boys Basketball Captain.
Hes made the ultimate commitment to basketball, said York coach Vince Doran. Hes the superstar without the ego.
When Doran left Hinsdale Souths program last spring to take the reins at York, his immediate goal was to familiarize himself with the program. That meant familiarizing himself with Cohn, who at the time was weighing his options among nearly 20 Division I scholarship offers.
Right away I wanted to reach out to him, and we had a great conversation on the phone, Doran said. I just wanted to let him know we were going to stay headed in the right direction.
Definitely the right direction.
With Cohn, a 6-foot-2 senior guard, the consensus go-to guy for a second straight year, York won its Thanksgiving and holiday tournaments while forging a second straight 20-win season.
After finishing tied for second in the West Suburban Silver, last week the Dukes won their first regional title since 2006. They entered Thursdays Class 4A Schaumburg sectional semifinal showdown against Silver rival Oak Park with the opportunity to claim the programs first sectional crown since 1982.
Cohn has led the way by averaging 17.4 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists a game. He enters sectional play with 1,600 varsity points on the button, 55 points shy of the program record held by former teammate and 2011 graduate Will Sullivan, who now plays at Miami of Ohio.
Following in the footsteps of Sullivan, whom Cohn considers a mentor for the two years they spent as Yorks starting backcourt, Cohn will continue playing at Colorado State University.
Colorado State coach Larry Eustachy will be Cohns fifth coach in five seasons. That doesnt include Mike Mullins, Cohns AAU coach with the Illinois Wolves.
At times its felt a little choppy, the transitions between different coaches, Cohn said. Its definitely been interesting.
Cohns varsity tenure at York began freshman year under the tutelage of Al Biancalana, who left after that season to become an assistant coach at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Biancalanas York assistant, Dominic Cannon, coached during Cohns sophomore year but left after that one season at the helm.
Cohns junior season his best statistically with 19.2 points a game and 81 3-pointers was headed by former Gordon Tech and DePaul standout Tom Kleinschmidt. Again, though, Kleinschmidt stepped down after one season to coach at Gordon Tech.
The whirlwind came to an end with Dorans arrival. Unlike Cohns previous three coaches, however, Doran brought in a new playing system. Instead of the wide-open offense of the year before, Doran instilled a more controlled half-court style that took better advantage of the 6-7 tandem of Frank Toohey and Justin Kurash.
This year hes shown hell do whats needed to help the team, said Glenbard West coach Tim Hoder. Hell defer to the big guys or hell score if they need him to. It just shows hes more interested in winning than he is about his stats.
Theres no doubt Cohns abilities helped him adapt through the years. This season, challenging as its been, was no different.
Cohn describes his style of play as a fast-paced, get the ball and go kind of basketball. His incredible speed with the ball attests to his ability to thrive in the open court.
Cohns shooting skill is obvious from the number of 3-pointers hes made. His immense time at point guard, meanwhile, showcases his passing prowess. Cohns rebounding is underrated.
He utilized it all this senior year in what he calls his most successful season. Even if it took some effort growing accustomed to a new coach and a new style.
As the season went on I wouldnt say we butted heads, but there were some discussions about getting on the same page, Cohn said. I have a lot of respect for coach Doran, hes been around the game a long time. Ill do whatever I have to do to win games.
While Cohn wishes he could have enjoyed the same coach for all four years at York, he focuses on the bright side. Hes been able to take a little bit of everyones coaching philosophy and carry it with him through the choppy journey.
York basketball, and his place in leaving a lasting legacy, always stood as Cohns rock of stability.
Hes always been able to score, but hes matured on all levels, said Toohey, a junior who also has played on varsity since his freshman year. This year hes been able to show everything he can do on the court, not just scoring. Weve all had our growing pains this season, but its made us a better team because of it.
Its made Cohn a better player.
Hes grown just an inch in height since lofting that floater three years ago as a freshman, but his court sense and maturity level have blossomed tremendously.
Sometimes you see kids that are great athletes, they think theyre better than everyone else, Doran said. Hes been brought up to be very respectful of everyone.
Four years, four coaches. Four experiences molding him into the player and person he is today.
Sixteen hundred points later, Cohn just shakes his head.
Ive played over 120 games as a York Duke, he said. Ive been really lucky to be around my coaches, my parents and especially my teammates all this time. Its kind of scary to think it coming to an end here.