Koufos rejoined his King James Shooting Stars AAU team for the King James Shooting Stars Classic in Akron, Ohio. The event was open to college coaches and Maryland head coach Gary Williams was one of many interested coaches who followed Koufos over the weekend. What those coaches who watched him saw was a player working to get his versatile game back to where it was before the injury.
"I thought I played pretty well," said Kosta Koufos, who estimated that his foot is about 75% healthy right now. "I got up and down the court pretty well. I couldn't do some things like cut or rebound or block or do some dunks here or there, but I believe it was a pretty decent performance for the first time I've been on the court for about three months."
During the past couple months without being able to play basketball, Koufos used pool workouts to keep his stamina and did what he could on the court to work on his game.
"I was shooting 75-100 jumpers every day," he said. "The first couple of weeks I was shooting on a stool. Then when I had more strength in my foot I could stand up and shoot. Then it progressed from there to dribbling up and down the court and so forth."
Some of the college coaches Koufos identified as having watched him over the weekend were Gary Williams, head coaches from Ohio State, Michigan State and Michigan as well as assistants from Louisville and North Carolina. It's no coincidence that most of those programs are on his current short list of schools.
"It's been pretty stable. It's been a top five of schools – Ohio State, Maryland, Louisville, Michigan, and Michigan State," he said, adding Akron University to the list. "It's been pretty solid."
While college coaches were not allowed to speak to the players, many found a way to show Koufos the love anyway.
"There's no rule about text messaging," he explained. "I got a good amount of text messages from head coaches that saw me play on Saturday. Right after I got done playing they sent me messages just saying how well I played for the first time being on the court, keep up the good work, and the usual."
Coaches may be feeling the need to make a good impression on Koufos now as he has already visited all of the schools on his short list and may decide on a college sooner rather than later.
"I feel like I'm going to make a college decision in the next two months," he said. "So before my senior year starts I'll make a decision." He added, "I've been to all those schools. I feel like if I were to make a decision it would just be off the knowledge I already have of those schools."
We asked Koufos to talk about the schools atop his list and what he likes about each one.
Ohio State – "I like the atmosphere, [Head] Coach Matta, Coach Groce, Coach Major, and Coach Peters. It's a great coaching staff and it's close to home. It's about two hours away and it's a nice campus."
Michigan – "Coach Amaker is a great coach. He played at Duke in his college years. He has great experience and there's great atmosphere. Chrysler Arena is a beautiful arena. Michigan is just a great school for education and for basketball."
Louisville – "Coach Pitino and Assistant Coach Menzies are great coaches. They have no budget at Louisville so that's a plus and Coach Pitino has a numerous amount of connections with NBA coaches and he's a great coach. He works well with individual players."
Michigan State – "It is obviously a great program year in and year out. Coach Izzo is a great coach with a great coaching staff and a great atmosphere and it's also a great college to play for."
Maryland – "Coach Gary Williams is another great coach, a legend. He won a national championship in 2002. He just had a phenomenal year and passed coach Lefty [Driesell] with the amount of wins he had at Maryland. He is an amazing coach with a lot of years of experience. The Comcast Center is just a gorgeous place and the Maryland/College Park area is just beautiful."
Koufos has always been one to keep his recruitment close to the vest and not say anything that might tip his hand towards one school or another. By the sounds of it though, coaches and fans may not have to wait much longer before he does throw his cards on the table and picks a school.
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