The Brown and White spoke with men’s basketball alumni Pat Andree, ‘19, Jordan Cohen, ‘20, and Kyle Leufroy, ‘19, about their student-athlete experience and how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted their professional basketball careers.
Q: What have you been up to since you graduated? How has the pandemic affected your plans?
Pat Andree: Last year, I played at North Carolina State as a graduate transfer. From there, I went and signed a professional contract with S.C. Lusitania in Portugal, so I am there right now. (Our season started on Oct. 10), and it ends mid-April. A lot of teams did not know if they were going to be playing this year and what that process was going to look like. The recruitment going into this was a lot less than it would have been. I had to wait an extra month than normal, and I ended up getting offers from the teams that I wanted to pursue. It affected the timeline more than anything else.
Jordan Cohen: I am currently playing professional basketball in Israel. We have practice once or twice a day. Right now, I am on lockdown. Israel went through a second lockdown, so I am stuck in my house. Luckily, I’ve been able to go to the grocery store and feed myself, but right now I can only go to the gym. It definitely does not feel like I am in a different country yet because I (have) just been confined to my house. (I’ve) been in Israel since the beginning of September.
Kyle Leufroy: Right now, I am playing overseas. This is my second year in Germany in the ProA division, which is another name for the second division out here. It’s a little rough this year. We are trying to adjust. We are actually supposed to have a game this weekend, (but) everything has been pushed back as of now just because of COVID cases on the team. Fans are not able to attend the games.
Q: What were your favorite Lehigh basketball memories?
PA: I remember when we got a chance to play the big teams. Freshman year, our first game, we played Xavier and gave them a really good game. It ended up being really close. That same year we played at Mississippi State, and we ended up beating them by 15 points. It was also a great experience to be able to make it to the (Patriot League Championship). Those big games were always great experiences for us.
JC: The first time ever walking into Stabler Arena as a college student was a very cool moment. I realized that I made it, and I’ve worked hard for this my whole life. I am finally a college basketball player. Also, my freshman year, we made it to the Patriot League Championship but we lost. Freshman year, we beat Mississippi State, which is a very good team. It’s not every day that a team of Lehigh’s caliber beats a team like that.
KL: Even though we lost, the game we played at home against Holy Cross my freshman year was pretty crazy. Being in a packed gym like that and having all of that love and support from our fans was pretty crazy.
Q: What were your favorite memories from your time in the Lehigh community?
PA: The people you meet, teachers, faculty and the whole Lehigh atmosphere was awesome. Being away from it now, I miss it a lot. The culture of Lehigh itself and the people around it are pretty special.
JC: All the people I’ve met over the years, the coaches, the players and the people. I remember Greg Strobel (the late Lehigh wrestling coach). I just saw him all the time around Taylor, walking around always with a smile on his face. Even if I didn’t necessarily know specific people, all the relationships I had just in passing have definitely made a huge difference in my life. I’ve definitely made close friends for the rest of my life.
KL: The house I lived in. I never thought I would create such strong bonds with the people I did. A couple of those people I still speak to every day. Whether I was having a good day or bad day, I was able to come home and see some faces that I enjoyed being around every day. The camaraderie is something I always desired.
Q: How have your Lehigh basketball experiences shaped you today?
PA: Lehigh basketball teaches you a lot of things that translate off the court. You obviously learn a lot about basketball, but also how to build your character, be a good person and get the stuff done that you need to do.
JC: Lehigh enabled me to play at the next level. You pretty much have to play college basketball to get here. The Patriot League competition is good, but it was definitely beneficial to play teams outside the league. Last year we played teams like Virginia Tech and St. Mary’s. Those higher Division I teams helped me get to the next level. On my current team, there are 36 and 37-year olds, so I am playing against grown men. (In) college, you don’t get that age disparity, but you play against older people that have played for a longer time, so it definitely helps you get ready to play at the professional level.
KL: At Lehigh, we faced a lot of challenges. If anything, Lehigh prepared me to always look forward to trying to find another solution at the end of the day. My goals will always remain the same no matter what challenges arise. I learned as a unit trying to see other ways to find the solution. Right now, we have a couple of people on the team that tested positive, so as an entire team, we now have to quarantine for 14 days. Our season was supposed to start this weekend, and so now we are faced with the challenge of remaining in shape and being prepared without being able to leave the house.