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York's David Cohn shoots a three past Curie's Demarcus Richardson. | Patrick Gleason~For Sun-Times Media
Basketball is like dance, a sport predicated on rhythm and tempo. Consistency means everything, especially for guards who are called upon to direct the show and orchestrate the team’s movement.
York star senior guard David Cohn was skilled and talented enough to play on the varsity ever since his freshman year. That is the good news. Unfortunately, he has witnessed up close a topsy-turvy Dukes’ program that has seen for varied reasons rapid turnaround at the top.
Cohn has played for four different coaches in his career. He has been a constant, a nervy and gifted player, a 6-1 combo guard who has shown steady and significant improvement.
“Four different coaches in four years, it’s definitely not easy but the coaches I’ve had here have always been on my side and I’ll do whatever they ask,” he said. “I have struggled at times fitting into the system, but I have always kept my head high and stayed positive.”
After a tough loss to Proviso West Friday night, Cohn and the Dukes rebounded by drilling Lyons and then most impressively, stunning No. 11 Curie 46-45 on junior guard Jack Heinle’s tip-in at the buzzer.
Cohn was the leading scorer in both victories, scoring 12 of his game-high 20 points in the first half against Curie.
“In my four years, that’s the biggest win I’ve ever had, beating one of the best teams in the state,” Cohn said. He added four rebounds, three assists and two steals. For his accomplishments, Cohn earned the Chicago Sun-Times Athlete of the Week.
The Colorado State-recruit is averaging 17 points, five rebounds and three assists for the 17-5 No. 23 Dukes. His value goes beyond the numbers.
First-year York coach Vince Doran previously coached at Hinsdale South. He never coached against Cohn but he saw him play. “I knew he was a special player,” Doran said. “He is a tremendous facilitator on the offensive end and defensively he’s our catalyst.
“He’s not into numbers, he’s into winning and he does whatever it takes.”
At first appearance, Cohn is wispy and wiry. He is deceptive in his movements and burst. As his body has developed, his game has followed suit.
“I was kind of shy and not very tough mentally as a freshman,” he said. “It may not seem like it, but I’m in the weight room every day and that has helped my speed and agility a lot. Also, I’ve improved my shot a lot in four years.”
Most important, Cohn is at his best at the end of games. His two free throws against Conant gave the Dukes their first holiday championship of their host tournament in more than three decades. York also captured the Palatine Thanksgiving tournament.
Cohn said the breakthrough in his game occured when he began trusting better his own teammates. Playing with a group of talented juniors in Heinle, Charlie Rose and 6-8 Frank Toohey, Cohn has helped the Dukes become more diversified and difficult to slow down defensively.
“Coach has a lot of trust in me to make plays, and I think that’s my strength,” Cohn said. “For this team I’m a point guard and I have to do whatever is necessary to win, especially create for others because teams sometimes run two or three guy at me to take the ball away and I have to make the right decisions.”
Having watched him every day, Doran knows his value to the team. “He’s a model kid who just makes everybody better,” he said.