High-level guard play is a common thread throughout Brett Reed’s time as head coach of the Lehigh men’s basketball team.
From C.J. McCollum, ‘13, to Kahron Ross, ‘17, to 2019 graduates Lance Tejada and Kyle Leufroy, the Mountain Hawk backcourt has consistently been among the most talented in the Patriot League under Reed.
Senior guard Jordan Cohen has continued the trend this season and, on a roster with five freshmen, freshman guard Reed Fenton looks primed to be a centerpiece of future Mountain Hawk rosters.
Cohen leads Lehigh with averages of 14.5 points per game and 4.1 assists per game on 39.6 percent shooting from three. With the graduation of Leufroy and Tejada, Cohen has stepped into a leadership role this season and has been heavily relied on to orchestrate the offense.
“We’ve had some great guards in the past, and Jordan (Cohen)’s coming in line with many of them that have been able to create and score,” Reed said. “He has the ability to manufacture points independently in a variety of ways that is very impressive.”
Upon his arrival at Lehigh, Cohen had the ability to learn from and compete against Ross, Tejada and Leufroy. Cohen said this allowed him to craft the skills necessary to lead Lehigh on both ends of the floor.
Like Fenton, Cohen played behind talented guards as a freshman, averaging 5.4 points per game. As an upperclassman, Cohen had to elevate his level of play.
“Going against Kahron (Ross) every day in practice really helped my freshman and sophomore year,” Cohen said. “I learned a lot from those guys, just working out together and playing each other one-on-one. All three of them were always in the gym working on their games, and that had an effect on me.”
Among Cohen’s biggest strengths is his offensive versatility. He is a threat to score from all three levels of the floor, spacing the court with his range and creating scoring for teammates while driving or probing in the pick and roll.
One of the biggest beneficiaries of Cohen’s ability to draw opposition attention has been Fenton.
At 6 feet 4 inches, Fenton has great size for a guard, making him a high-ceiling, two-way prospect for the Mountain Hawks. The first-year guard has been one of the most impactful contributors in a talented recruiting class.
Most importantly, Fenton has filled the shooting void left this past offseason.
Lehigh led the nation in three-point shooting last season, converting on 42.3 percent of attempts. However, the departures of Tejada, Leufroy and junior transfer Pat Andree left several questions heading into the 2019-20 season.
Fenton has been a dependable floor spacer, shooting 35.9 percent from three on 78 attempts this season. He and Cohen have developed chemistry while on the floor together, capitalizing on each other’s strengths.
Cohen’s ability to break defenders down off the dribble paired with Fenton’s accurate shooting has frequently put defenders in a bind.
“Reed (Fenton) shoots the ball very well,” Cohen said. “He knows where to move when I drive to put himself in the best situation to either catch and shoot, or cut to the rim. We feed off each other very well.”
The pair also share a close relationship off the court.
“We definitely like to hang out off the court and watch the NBA, play video games, those kinds of things,” Fenton said. “I’m definitely a better Fortnite player.”
With the season winding down, and Cohen playing his last games at Lehigh, Fenton will look to keep the backcourt tradition alive as he transitions to a bigger role next season.
The Mountain Hawks will again have one of the youngest teams in the league next year. Seven of Lehigh’s current 13 players are underclassmen, and a number of them are already regular contributors.
Fenton sees his relationship with Cohen, and the example the senior set, having a long-lasting impact on him.
“I’ve definitely learned a lot just by watching Jordan (Cohen) and following his lead,” Fenton said. “It’s helped me understand what leading is, and I think I’ll be able to develop those skills as my role increases.”
Lehigh has not won the Patriot League Championship since 2012. As Fenton steps in as next in line to a tradition of talented guards, he has one goal in mind.
Fenton said he desires to win the Patriot League and live out his dream of competing in the NCAA Tournament.