As vital as the point guard position is to a basketball team, the ability to play the position well is one that is built over time with a great deal of learning experience. As a fan, it can be exciting to see a point guard grow up before your eyes and turn into the type of leader you believe your team needs. Fans of California Golden Bears were able to have that experience the past few seasons watching Justin Cobbs.
Cobbs, a California state native, came to California after spending his freshman season at Minnesota, where he only averaged about 10 minutes per game. After sitting out a season, Cobbs made his way into the starting lineup just 8 games into the year, a position he wouldn’t relinquish the rest of his time with the team. This past season, Cobbs averaged 15.6 points per game, along with 6 assists and 3 rebounds per game. The key number though for his position is assist-to-turnover ratio, and Cobbs finished the year with a stellar 2.4 to 1 ratio. In simple terms, he finds his teammates and takes care of the ball.
As well as Cobbs played over his 3 years at California, it was all part of a process that saw him and his game mature.
“I was able to mature and learn what it takes to be a leader,” said Cobbs. “I worked hard on being consistent and bringing 110% to everything I did.”
Cobb’s development was accelerated once he transferred from Minnesota to play for Mike Montgomery and his staff at California. “Coach really taught us what it takes as a team to be successful,” said Cobbs. “It wasn’t always easy, but he showed how you can bring 14 guys together to pursue a common goal.”
California’s season came to an end with a two-point loss in the NIT Quarterfinals against Southern Methodist. The scene after that guy really stuck with Cobbs. “When everything was over, everyone’s emotions just started to come out,” Cobbs said. “During the season, this group really came together, and I will always cherish the friendships and coaches.”
Cobbs has been working out at Impact Basketball in Las Vegas as he prepares to audition for NBA teams. “I’m working a lot on my shooting, being able to knock down the 3,” explained Cobbs. “I’ve also been spending time learning more about the NBA style of play, especially how physical it is and being able to run and defend the pick-and-roll better.”
Cobb’s play the past few years will have him on a lot of teams’ radars and he has a good idea of what they are expecting to see from him. “I think my defense is what stands out the most,” explained Cobbs. “I am bigger than most people seem to think and I can help teams in the same way a guy like Patrick Beverly does.”
It’s not all about defense though with Cobbs, who has averaged over 15 points per game the last two seasons. “I have a really strong pull up game off the dribble,” said Cobbs. “Also, I know how to use my body to get to the basket.”
For Cobbs though, it’s the intangibles which really help him stand apart. “I am a team player, a locker room guy, and I understand what it takes and what is expected of me,” said Cobbs. “I have a strong work ethic and I am always in the gym, and I have the character and mindset that makes me ready to take on anything.”
With a professional career just on the horizon, Cobbs has a good idea of how he would be able to fit in with a team right away. “I can come in and be a lockdown defender and knock down open shots,” explained Cobbs. “I’ll go out there when I’m called and give 110% and make smart decisions.”
Cobbs’ NBA experience is already on the way, having works out scheduled with Sacramento and Utah. He will have many more before the draft comes along in June.
Cobbs is excited for this opportunity and he just wants a chance to show what he can do. “I have no expectations and no ego,” said Cobbs. “I want to come in and do all the little things a coach needs done, play some tough defense and be a leader.”
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