Kobie Sloan-Sumrall’s off-season consisted of Hot Pockets, pick up games, and a whole lot of time in the gym putting up shots. With the Coyle Bluejackets losing several key players from last season, he knew his time was coming.
The junior sharpshooter didn’t waste any time in Tuesday’s season opener for the Bluejackets, as he poured in a career-high 23 points, knocking down seven 3s, powering Coyle to a 52-27 win over crosstown rival Mulhall-Orlando.
Last season, Sloan-Sumrall liked to float around the three-point line, waiting on a pass to set up his shot. This year, his father—and head coach—has challenged him to create more off the dribble.
“He’s my son, so he lives in the gym,” Coyle Head Coach Josh Sumrall said. “His work ethic is really good. He comes over here and shoots on his own and it’s paying off for him and I’m really glad to see that. Last year he was more of a spot up shooter but this year he’s going to have to look to create more. I’ve challenged him to open his game up and to be able to create more and he’s been working on it.”
In the first quarter against the Panthers, Sloan-Sumrall caught himself floating around the three-point line. In the second quarter, he went into his bag and pulled out a few things he had been working on.
With a defender shading him to go baseline, Sloan-Sumrall pounded the ball to his right before giving an in-and-out move into a step back behind the three-point line. It’s a move James Harden has made famous over the years and Sloan-Sumrall executed it to perfection, splashing in the attempt from deep.
On the next possession, Sloan-Sumrall put the ball on the deck again, this time choosing to attack the rim, getting fouled in the process. He would make both free throws.
On the ensuing possession, he floated around the three-point line again, this time with the defender sagging off him, was able to knock down the catch-and-shoot attempt, giving him 11 points in the first half.
Sloan-Sumrall continued the momentum over into the second half, hitting four 3s in the final two quarters, giving him a career-high seven 3s. His previous high came last season when he knocked down five.
Sumrall says his time in the gym this off-season paved the way for this performance.
“That’s what it takes,” Sumrall said. “You have to be a gym rat if you want to be pretty good. He’s been in here working and it’s paying off for him.”