Senior guard Kahron Ross tries to steal the ball during Lehigh's game against Monmouth University at Stabler Arena on Nov. 14, 2017. Ross was chosen as one of four standout seniors in the Patriot League to play in the first 3-on-3 National Championship at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio from March 30-April 1. (Sarah Epstein/B&W Staff)

Kahron Ross competes in first-ever 3X3 National Championship during March Madness

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While the four remaining teams in men’s college basketball were preparing for the Final Four in San Antonio, Lehigh men’s basketball senior guard Kahron Ross was competing in the inaugural 3-on-3 National Championship a few blocks away at St. Mary’s University.

Four players from each of the 32 Division I conferences were chosen to represent their respective leagues and schools and compete for a $100,000 prize pool.

Lehigh sophomore guard Jordan Cohen said the consistent success Ross found throughout his collegiate basketball career was the overriding reason he was chosen as one of the players to represent the Patriot League.

“(Ross) has been a dominant player in the Patriot League since he came in as a freshman, and he was picked because he has proven himself to be one of the best players in this league,” Cohen said. “He was freshman of the year his first year and has had continued success the rest of his college career.”

Because of the opportunity to win prize money in the championship, only seniors who completed their NCAA eligibility could compete. The Patriot League team consisted of Ross, Bucknell University forward Zach Thomas, Bucknell guard Stephen Brown and Colgate University forward Jordan Swopshire.

Coach Brett Reed said he and his team were proud Ross was selected to play for Lehigh and the Patriot League.

“It was an honor for him to be selected to represent the Patriot League,” Reed said. “He was with other Patriot League student-athletes who really excelled throughout the course of their college career. He’s an excellent basketball player, and he’s even set milestones within the Patriot League record books. He’s a quality player that can compete on a national stage.”

The tournament was played in a pool-play format, where each conference competed against several other conferences, and the winning teams advanced.

After each pool-play win, teams were awarded $1,000 in prize money to split among their members. The prize for the championship game winner was $50,000.

The Patriot League team won its final game against the Atlantic-10 conference team after it lost to the eventual pool-winning Ivy League team in its opening game.

Ross scored the game-winning free throw to defeat the Atlantic-10 team.

Ross and his team took home $2,000 after picking up an automatic victory because the Pac-12 team failed to register for the event in time.

Cohen said Ross is difficult to defend in a 3-on-3 setting because of his quickness and his comfort in dishing assists to his teammates.

“In a 3-on-3 setting, there is a lot of opportunity to create off the dribble, which is one of Kahron’s specialties,” Reed said. “If the defense was deciding to help him or to give him some space, he’s more than comfortable enough knocking down a shot to keep the defense honest.”

Cohen said Ross’ skillset wasn’t the only reason he deserved to be selected to play in the event

Cohen said his senior teammate’s work ethic and consistent desire to improve led him to a successful career on and off the court. Cohen praised Ross for always setting the bar high for himself and consistently reaching it every year.

“This is a guy who was (Patriot League) Rookie of the Year, has played in multiple Patriot League Championship games, holds the record for assists in the Patriot League and has even scored well over 1,000 points,” Reed said. “So, he has been a really productive player and hit a number of meaningful milestones within the league. I would say the Patriot League really represents a lot of values of leadership and sportsmanship and all the positive things that you associate with high quality student-athletes, and Kahron matches that mold as well.”

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