Ottawa High School senior Kobe Johnson is doing his best to enjoy the recruitment process.
The all-state basketball player said the restrictions of no college campus visits has given him a new perspective on the situation.
“You have to keep that communication open and build a bond with a coach,” said Johnson, who averaged 16 points a game for the Cyclones this past season. “The big thing for me is how well I bond with coaches.”
Johnson said the coaches are doing a good job of communicating with him more, mostly by text messaging.
“You talk more because you can’t visit their school,” he said. “A lot of schools have a virtual tour you can take. It is not as good (as on-campus visits), but you can still get an idea of the school.”
Johnson, a 6-foot-5 forward, led Ottawa to its first state tournament berth in five years. He is a versatile offensive player, who uses his strength to get to the basket and has good touch from the outside.
Those attributes led to a lot of interest at different levels.
Johnson said a lot of research goes into choosing the right school and program.
“Me and my family has done a lot of work,” he said. “First off, I know at one point in my life, the ball is going to stop bouncing, so the biggest thing is do they have what I want to study. From a basketball standpoint, how I relate to the coaches, so I know they will be there for me after college is over. “
Johnson said having a family atmosphere in the program is important to him.
“You need to find out if you can relate before you go there,” he said.
Johnson did visit several colleges during the basketball season. He said that helped a lot to see the whole picture of how he might fit in.
“After the game, you go to the locker room and feel the atmosphere,” Johnson said. “It does give you an advantage. The big thing for me, I try to see what kind of players play a lot and what style they play. See if that will fit me, if I go there.”
While on those visits, Johnson had the opportunity to talk to current players about the program.
“Try and keep as much contact to help make the decision easier,” he said.
Johnson also keeps in contact with teammates on his summer team and other friends being recruited.
“They are going through the same thing as me,” he said. “Kids that I know that are getting recruited by the same school, I like to talk to them about how they are feeling. Maybe they learned something else about the school. If it’s a player I played with during the summer, we have a connection on the court.”
Johnson is weighing a lot of factors and will not rush into a decision.
“I am not close,” he said. “I have not cut down any schools at all. I am open. I will try to commit before the end of May.”