Senior point guard Jordan Cohen, who was elected as captain his junior and senior seasons, compiled a career full of highlights and memories during his time at Lehigh.
The Tarzana, California, native played all four seasons, and said Lehigh’s strong athletics and academics, along with its campus, drew him to Bethlehem initially.
“It was just good academics and good basketball, and I thought that would fit well with me,” Cohen said. “Then, when I came out, I really liked the campus.”
Cohen led the team in scoring and assists in his final campaign, averaging 14.2 points per game on the season, and was also named to the Third-Team All-Patriot League and the Academic All-Patriot League team.
“He was so creative on the floor, so skilled and could do so many different things with the basketball that he was just a nightmare for guys to guard,” said assistant coach Harry Morra. “Yeah, he could do everything.”
Morra has been assistant coach for six years, but he has been involved with the program for ten years. He coached Cohen through all four years of his playing career for the Mountain Hawks.
Morra said the experience watching Cohen maximize his potential at Lehigh has been enjoyable, particularly in his breakout junior season.
“I’ve gotten to see him kind of transform his game and really come into the Patriot League as an unknown guy,” Morra said. “And now, this year and over the course of his four years, he’s one of the scariest players in the entire league. On any given night, he could go off. So, it was neat to see what his potential was.”
Though Cohen did not become a full-time starter until his junior year, he started his first game early in his first year against Princeton University, when starting guard Kahron Ross, ‘18, was injured.
Cohen said he remembers it clearly.
“I actually played really well,” he said. “I think I had 20 (points) and seven (assists) that game.”
When Cohen became the starting guard his junior season, he received more minutes, and his numbers improved. It was during that year the team turned to him for leadership as a newly-elected team captain. His junior year, Cohen shot an efficient 52 percent from the field and nearly 48 percent from three.
Junior center and teammate James Karnik said that season found Cohen in a greater leadership role, which helped him develop his confidence and his attributes on the court.
“As he came into his junior year, he got that starting spot, and with that came some confidence — not only in his basketball abilities, but in his total person,” Karnik said. “He just started carrying himself more confidently, and that kind of helped him be a player and a captain.”
Morra and Karnik said as excellent of a basketball player and leader Cohen is, many do not really know what kind of person he is. As a player who found his voice the more he grew into the leadership role, Cohen is not the most vocal or outspoken person.
But Karnik, who was also voted captain as a junior and knows what it takes to be a team leader, said Cohen is easily approachable and well-grounded.
“He’s humble,” Karnik said “I wouldn’t say he’s one of those guys that feels he needs to show off or something. Don’t get me wrong, he’ll do stuff that he has to do when he has to get the job done, but, that being said, I feel like he’s a very humble person, and it’s a quality to him that makes him a more likeable person.”
Morra also touched on Cohen’s approach in the classroom, too, calling him a “really high-end student.”
He said Cohen’s intelligence is evident in and out of the classroom.
“He’s a really, really intelligent guy, academically so and just in life,” Morra said. “He’s a really good person, he’s got a really good core and character. He treats people with respect.”
Though the team will remain under strong leadership next season, with two seniors on the roster, Cohen will be missed on the court and in the Lehigh community.