David Cohn is a 26 year old 188cm guard from Elmhurst, Chicago playing his third professional season and first in Germany with the wiha Panthers Schwenningen. He played his first two seasons in Israel with Hapoel Eilat (Israel-Winner League) and :Maccabi Hunter Haifa (Israel-Winner League). He began his basketball career with York High School and then played a season at Colorado State University. He then played at the College of William & Mary (NCAA) from 2015-2018 playing a total of 92 NCAA games and as a senior averaged 14.5ppg, 3.0rpg, 6.7apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 60.3%, 3PT: 43.6%, FT: 91.2%. He spoke to germanhoops.com after the massive 88-85 victory over Nurnberg.
Congrats on the huge 88-85 win. How special is this win? You had to fight back for 34 minutes and then got over the hump and won the game.
Every win is very important for us. It was great that we could get over the hump at the end. At this stage of the season you have to win these type of games, because if you don’t then they could haunt you in the standings.
The first quarter was very tight. Nurnberg spread the ball around and Antonio Davis was hard to stop. Why couldn’t you get away from Nurnberg?
Antonio Davis is a terrific player. I have played against him since I was 8 years old. We go back very far. He is a really good player. He was a real problem for us. We didn’t follow the defensive plan on him. We made some adjustments and he got into foul trouble. That allowed us to go on some runs.
Nurnberg kept the lead at the break 49-44. How bad would it have looked had you not had the support of Robert Drijencic? How vital has his BBL experience been for the team?
Robert has been great. He has been a phenomenal addition for us so late in the season. He is so composed, has a high IQ, is a great passer and shooter. He doesn’t have many flaws. We had a lot of luck that he came in our lap.
After three quarters Nurnberg still had the lead, but the Panthers showed that they wouldn’t give up. Did the adrenalin hide the fatigue the team may have been having or did you feel all was looking good going into the fourth quarter?
You always have an advantage at home. That Davis was in foul trouble was huge for us. They couldn’t do certain things on offense., It’s never over until it’s over. Basketball is a game of runs. It was fortunate that we got the last run.
Demarkus Stuckey made two key baskets in the third quarter. He has had a tough adjustment period. How have you helped him as the point guard this season?
It has been a strange situation having another American point guard. He is a really good guy that always has a positive attitude. I think with him, it’s just a situation where it takes time for him to find his footing. I was really happy to see him make some plays and baskets in the game.
The fourth quarter was really exciting. After missing a free throw, Nurnberg American Antonio Davis made a trey to tie the game at 85-85 with 10 seconds to go. How pumped were to make up for the missed free throw?
Of course I was really pumped. I had sat out a very long period. Something like 17 minutes. I missed the first free throw and then made the second one which was a big relief. They then hit a three pointer. It was dumb that we didn’t foul. I wasn’t bothered by the missed free throw. I was totally dialed in and was totally focused. I thought we would win. Wilson got me the ball and I made a pass to Grant Sitton for a basket. That play got me into the game at that moment.
Did you guys have a play at the end? It seemed like you were the guy to make something happen. Did you even look for any teammates or were you 100% focused on taking the last shot?
I didn’t look for any teammates. I couldn’t even tell you if anyone was open. I felt so confident to take the last shot. I really really wanted that last shot. I really saw no alternative. That last shot for me was meant to be. There are moments in sports where you suffer that black out. It was one of those moments for me.
You hardly played in the fourth quarter. You came cold into the last play. You must have had a lot of confidence to take a shot like that and why did you sit out so long?
Yes I had a lot of confidence. It felt like a destiny moment for me. I was meant to take that shot. You just have to believe in yourself in a moment like that. I sat from the 6 minute mark in the third quarter to the last minute of the fourth quarter. I can’t comment why I sat so long. That was something like 40 minutes real time. It isn’t ideal to take such a big shot after sitting so long, but I was dealt the cards and the shot felt good and I knew it was going in.
How good does it feel to make that game winner? How many have you had in your career?
It was a funny situation for me. I was never that clutch guy before this season. The running joke in high school was that I always chocked under pressure. I really missed so many game winners in high school and college. But this year I have hit three game winners. It feels weird. Maybe it’s because I’m older and have more experience. They say the more experience you have the better you are. I believe that I have learned from missing too much. I’m growing more comfortable now to be able to take those type of shots. I hope that luck transitions to my golf game.
It’s been a tough season for the wiha Panthers Schweniingen but the playoff picture is very tight. How tough has it been for you mentally leading the team as best as you can but still not winning as much as you would like?
We have had a crazy and wild season. We have had so many injuries this season. Our Americans Wilson and Sitton were out and three of our important Germans also missed much time. To think that we are 10-11 now, it really isn’t the worst position. We have to keep our head down and keep going in the right direction. We have a three game winning streak and have to keep it going. Waverly Austin and Robert Drijencic have been huge additions. I can’t say anything negative. We are figuring out a small identity now and have to take this momentum into March when it’s crunch-time. We keep learning from adversary.
You began the season so well wining 5 of 7 games, but then from mid November until Feb was a tough stretch of many loses. What do you feel was the main reason for the club not being able to escape their hole besides all the injuries?
A big factor is experience. When you have to have two Germans on the court, missing that experience really hurts. Not having that experience from our German players really hurt us this season. Losing Justin Pierce also hurt. We just couldn’t catch a break. But the troops have rallied and we signed great Germans. We have experience back.
The defensive end continues to be a problem. Even when you win you give a lot. What does the team have to tweak most in the stretch run?
I can’t comment on that. My job is to take instruction and do the best I can with the instructions that I get. The only important thing for us now is to find ways to win. I don’t care if we win by 2 or 20 points. A win is a win. We have had some really ugly wins. I don’t care how we win.
How good is it to have sniper Chris Frazier back on board? I’m sure he would buy you some meals with all the dimes that you give him?
The dimes and shots go both ways. Chris is a great guy and definitely our veteran leader. He is always so calm. His presence is so huge and I’m really happy to have him back. He is my roommate and I know he will be a guy that I will remain in touch with after the season. We buy each other expresso’s. We take care of each other. It is a two way street. We also need his three pointers.
How tough was it seeing Justin Pierce go? Do you feel like we will see him in Germany again?
That’s a good question. He loves Germany. It was tough to see him go. I was really grateful to play together again with my best friend. I hope he is back in Germany and finds himself a dance partner in the BBL. He definitely has the talent to play there.
Your having a great season been having double double stats of points and assists. How beneficial has this season been for your mental health after not seeing minutes in Israel?
Your exactly correct. My mental health was in near jeopardy. But I had a great support system at home. It was a very tough two years overseas. I wish I had never gotten the Israeli citizenship. It was a disaster. I was working at Tesla last season and was a sales advisor. At the meantime, I was always in the gym. I never gave up. I’m thankful to God that Alen Velcic gave me an opportunity to showcase my skills at the pro level. I achieved a lot of college, but I always knew that I had a lot left and still do.
How do you explain your huge increase in assists this season? You have exploded handing out dimes
I think that the increase has to do with opportunity and nothing more. I truly believe that if I got the same amount of minutes in Israel that I have gotten this season, that the result would be the same. There was a game in Israel where I played 15 minutes and I still got 9 assists. And then I didn’t play in the next game. My skills will always be my skills. I believe in my skills. I believe that I can play at any level. We have a great group of guys this season. It has been so much fun playing with them. I hope they would say the same about me.
Your also shooting the ball pretty well. What other areas of your game have profited this season in the German Pro A?
Having self-confidence is the most important thing in basketball. I made a quick adjustment in the Pro A. I have understood what coach has wanted. We have a lot of talent and I want to keep it going.
You’re a guy that prides defense. How tough is it seeing so many points being given up? What have you done so that you can still be the best defender possible?
I know that I have to work with what I have. I’m not the tallest or biggest, but I’m quick. I always try to be in the right place and talk on defense. I need to affect the game in other ways. I’m thinking the game all the time.
It is isn’t done much but getting that triple double with points, assists and steals has been done before. You had 6 steals in a game this season.
I don’t think I will get it in steals. It would be very hard to get 10 steals. But I was very close already this season having 9 rebounds. That was my big chance. If I ever do get a triple double, it would be cool, but I’m not worried about it.
Have you been able to see some other games live this season on off days? Ludwigsburg isn’t too far from Schwenningen.
I haven’t gone to games, because of Covid: I have really wanted to watch my college teammate Omar Prewitt play who plays in Bamberg. I hope to see him play when he plays inLudwigsburg.
How did you see the James Harden trade. Can Brooklyn win the title this season?
It is hard to follow the NBA overseas. I followed it closely at home. Most of the time, it is hard to win on talent alone. The question is do they have enough time to mesh the talent? They definitely have enough talent now.
Thanks David for the chat.