Baldwin on Ateneo recruit Chris Koon: Very smart, tough player
MANILA, Philippines–Ateneo on Friday announced that it has secured the commitment of 19-year-old Filipino-American Chris Koon, staying true in its bid to strengthen the Blue Eagles’ future.
Koon, who traces his Filipino roots through his mother Iderlina Acosta, enrolled last Tuesday and will have five playing years with the University Athletic Association of the Philippines defending champions after serving a redshirt year.
Head coach Tab Baldwin, who introduced Koon through a virtual presser, spoke highly of the 6-foot-4 guard, and believes that the latter could transition into Ateneo’s program “fairly seamless.”
“He can play multiple positions, [has a] variety of skills,” the former national mentor said. “One of his greatest attributes is his basketball IQ—a very smart, and a very tough player.”
“Whatever (coach Tab) needs, I feel like I can spread it out,” said Koon. “I think I will be able to help the team a lot and (he) will definitely develop me and go through the process.”
Koon, a two-time John R. Wooden High School Player of the Year awardee, is set to debut in Season 84, where he will get a chance to play alongside Dwight Ramos, the national team member whose debut with the Eagles was pushed by the coronavirus pandemic.
Ramos, who also attended the same college as Koon, is also credited for the latter’s commitment.
Baldwin also alluded to Ramos as Ateneo’s model for its recruitment process, which he said puts premium in “evolving relationships.”
“For me, it’s just a matter of finding the players who can benefit [from] our program and we believe can fit in our program. And by fitting, it means we think they can benefit [from] them and they think that, too,” he said”
“Dwight … he has two years to play for us,” Baldwin said. “And that’s the key for us. It’s not about how many he’s going to win for us, it’s about how much we could contribute to the future of what we believe is a fine young man and an [athlete] who is going to be an outstanding basketball player.”
“It’s about relationships,” said the mentor behind Ateneo’s last three UAAP crowns. “We keep saying that but I believe we keep living up to it.”
Baldwin’s comments also come on the heels of securing talents in Filipino-Italian Gab Gomez, Filipino-Kiwi Jordan Perez, and juniors star Forthsky Padrigao.
“If you saw me start going out getting a bunch of one-and-dones, you would know we’re pretty much just interested in winning and I don’t think you’re going to see that,” said Baldwin.
“But when we get players that have a couple of years plus a residency year, you understand that we have time to help that player develop relationships, develop their professionalism, and they, in turn, have time to integrate themselves into our culture and chemistry and enhance that,” he said.
“That is the match we’re looking for.”
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