By Steev Riccardo
“As I have told all the college coaches that are recruiting him right now, he is probably the best person that I have coached in my 20-year career—maybe not the best player—but he has been the best person. He does so much for our team, so much for our school, so much for our community. I can’t say enough about him. If something needs to get done, he gets it done.” --Bartlett Head Basketball Coach Tony Paranto
Those are some pretty impressive words coming from Coach Paranto, the man who has probably been the closest to Nick Kobel besides his immediate family since he started high school.
The three-sport star and four- year basketball captain made Bartlett High School history last Wednesday night at Quaboag Regional when he became the tenth player in school history to reach 1000 points in his career.
In an incredible and touching moment following the three-point basket that put him in the 1000-point club, Kobel took the game ball and went into the stands and presented the ball to his parents. The large Bartlett crowd that traveled out to Warren to see it all happen went crazy. It was a tremendous moment for the Kobels, the players and coaches, and the fans.
The senior reflected on his beginning season, “I remember starting my first game as a freshman—it took me a little while to learn the system. There were older guys that showed me the way, so when I learned the system I was able to play my game.”
Quick to credit some of the guys that before him, he added, “Guys like Jessie Bond and Bobby Mitchell made me feel comfortable. They helped me and showed me the way”.
He also remembers watching players like Kyle Nadeau and Brian Henderson who played before him, crediting their leadership as a sort of guiding light.
This basketball upbringing was one of the reasons he was named captain as a freshman (a rarity) and why he has remained a leader and captain all four of his years on the team.
Paranto had no problem promoting him as a leader at a young age and remains a member of his admiration club. “Getting the 1000 points is another feather in his cap in his high school career. The quality of kid he is makes him number one in my book.”
Kobel has mutual admiration and respect for his coach, who along with Nick’s family is helping the senior make a decision on which school he will attend in the fall, “He loves us and we love him. We will do anything for him and vice versa, so when he yells at me I look at it like he is just trying to get the best out of me. He would run through a wall for us.”
As far as the joining the elite club, Kobel said “It’s one of the only individual goals you can accomplish basketball- wise because it’s such a team sport.”
He was a little tight early in the game, but as they game went on he started taking more shots and looking to score. “I knew a lot of my family was there, but I wasn’t going to try and force anything early. If the shot was there, I was going take it. In the second half it seemed to flow a little better for me.”
He was relieved when he hit the shot and was anxious to get back to the game. “When I hit the shot I had to get right back out there because it was such a close game.”
On presenting the ball to his family he said this, “My Mom has always supported me so it was nice to give her some type of recognition when that happened. She has been excited for me and I just wanted to give her something.”
Paranto also enjoyed the moment, ““I think it was a spur of the moment decision, and it shows you what kind of a kid he is. He knows how to put everything into perspective; he knows where his roots are.”
His teammates were also happy for him. “I was proud of him, he is a very hard worker; he puts his time in,” said Junior Akeem Belnavis, who thought it was the “best thing ever” when he went up in the stands.
Fellow co-captain and senior DJ Kirby-Thomas also praised Kobel, “He’s worked hard for it and he deserves it; he’s always the first one at practice and the last one to leave.”
Paranto had this to add, “He is very respectful, a lot of kids look up to him. He is like the model basketball student player for us right now. He is a quality kid.”
Nick Kobel has been giving to a lot of people during his career at Bartlett, and you get the feeling that the giving is not going to end when he reaches his next destination in the fall.
Nick joins these players
in The Bartlett High School 1000 point club:
Tim Bazinet (1974-77) 1262
Brad Smith (1978-81) 1294
Gino Manzi(1981-84) 1328
Edward Grezembski (1983-87) 1548
Jason Mglionico (1984-88) 1355
Todd Daskowski (1990-94) 1086
Matthew Bielik (1994-97) 1059
Kyle Nadeau (2002-2007) 1440
Brian Henderson (2004-07) 1093
- Wednesday, 15 February 2012
- Posted in Categories: : Sports