Kobe Paras, a 6-foot-6 junior at L.A. Cathedral named after the Lakers' Kobe Bryant, is going to have Cathedral fans chanting, "Ko-Be, Ko-Be, Ko-Be" the way he can shoot and score.
He arrived last school year from the Philippines, where his father, Benjie, is a former pro player. He had to sit out last season, but let's just say the wait was worth it based on his performance on Thursday against Long Beach Poly in the DeMar DeRozan tournament.
He scored 22 points before fouling out with 48 seconds left in a 57-50 loss. He made three threes.
"He's OK," Coach William Middlebrooks said. "He's got a lot to learn."
Paras is 16 years old (he turns 17 in September). He came to Cathedral as a 6-3 shooting guard, but he has grown three inches and was playing center on Thursday, guarding Poly's 6-8 Jordan Dallas.
Explaining his name, Paras said, "I was born in 1997, and during that time, Kobe Bryant was a rising star, so my dad decided to name me after Kobe Bryant."
He has already received some of the "Ko-Be" chants from opponents.
"It's motivation when they scream my name," he said. "I can get pumped."
KJ Feagin, Poly's outstanding point guard, scored 22 points to lead the Jackrabbits, but Cathedral is going to have some weapons next season.
Missing was Lucas Siewert, a 6-10 junior from Brazil known for his shooting skills. When Siewert and Paras play H-O-R-S-E in the Cathedral gym, Phantom students are going to crowd in to watch.