At the age of 21, Josh Ko is no stranger to having to function on his own. A native of Kailua, HI, he is used to being thousands of miles away from his family. However, when he arrived at FGCU at the end of this summer, Ko was welcomed into a new family, and in the process, he gained 16 brothers.
"When I come to this school, and then see these guys, these guys treat me like family," Ko said.
A common theme within the program, and many players will attest to this, is FGCU's strong emphasis on sticking together like a family. In Ko's case, those family values go along way because of how far he is from his own family.
Before transfering to FGCU, Ko attended the University of Pittsburgh where he walked on the basketball team his freshman year. In two seasons as a member of the Panthers, he logged a total of 18 minutes on the floor. After his minutes actually decreased in his sophomore year, he decided to seek out new opportunities.
While at home in Hawaii, Ko worked out with former Rainbow Warrior assistant coach, and current FGCU assistant coach, Senque Carey, or "Coach Q" as the team calls him. While working with him, Carey suggested Ko try and walk on for the Eagles.
"I worked out with Coach Q a couple times while I was at the University of Hawaii, so he thought that if he came here, I would get some more minutes, more than I would get at Pittsburgh anyway," Ko said.
So, that's exactly what Ko did. He enrolled at Florida Gulf Coast, then packed up his life and moved himself to Dunk City. Adjusting to life in Fort Myers has been much easier than adjusting to life in Pittsburgh. Being from Hawaii, he wasn't used to having to deal with the brutal winters of the Midwest. On the Gulf, the climate is much more like Hawaii, and it helped Ko to feel at home in a more literal sense.
During his time at Pitt, he learned some valuable lessons from coach Jamie Dixon and his staff. One of the most valuable lessons he learned was to always communicate. It may or may not be a coincidence that Ko is a communication major. Communicating on the court eliminates confusion. While not the most talented player on the floor, Ko can prove a valuable asset by being a consistent presence that always knows the situation.
Another aspect of Ko's game, one that could prove to be extremely valuable to the Eagles in crunch time, is his ability to shoot from behind the long line. While he probably won't play the extended role that they play, Ko is in the same mold of shooter as Christian Terrell and Filip Cvjeticanin.
"I can shoot lights out, like how CT and Filip shoot, so coming in the game, I can fill one of their spots," he said.
On a team that was desperate for jump shooters last year, FGCU certainly won't mind having an extra shooter like Ko on their bench.