August 3, 2015

Taira plays big

Kevin McCarthy

2016 point guard Cole Taira stands 5-foot-9 but produces out of the backcourt as if he measured 6-foot-3. That's the conundrum surrounding the E-Time Hoops Academy and Kennedy High standout and here's the case for recruiting him.

photo of Cole Taira

From Capital Christian High assistant and E-Time Hoops Academy Head Coach Rich Sondhi, someone who doesn't blow smoke, “Cole had an amazing AAU season. He can flat out shoot the basketball, his basketball IQ is off the charts, he plays much bigger than he is and he's extremely competitive. He had three games in Vegas where he scored over 25 points and still managed to be our leader in assists and steals with a bunch of rebounds. Cole is extremely strong and plays defense. If I gave you one word that explains Cole it's ‘winner.’ He hates to lose and will leave every he has on the floor. You will win games with Cole.”

Sondhi continued, “He is coachable, has a great work ethic and he gets the game. Watching Cole in practice is amazing. He does every drill at 100% and will not take off a play even in practice. He so competitive in every drill. Ball handling, shooting, rebounding, and scrimmaging.”

“Because of Cole and our other guys, we beat teams in Vegas and San Francisco we had no business beating.”

According to Sondhi, a number of DII schools are very interested in Taira, who sports a 3.8 grade point average. Those include Cal State East Bay, UC Merced and Cal State Dominguez Hills. “I think he is a steal for a college program.”

Taira himself seems to subsist on large servings of humble pie, despite enjoying efforts such as seven treys in one game against an opponent from Houston last week in Las Vegas plus his other prolific numbers.

Asked to detail his best basketball skills, he offered, “My high IQ. I like to lead the team and keep my teammates involved.” For his high level understanding of when to do what, he cited “it's how you've been taught the game and my Dad and my coaches know the game of basketball. I think I see basketball in the same way as coaches see it.”

From an early age, he was wise enough to recognize learning situations, seizing takeaways from just going up against elders. “As a freshman on varsity, I got a feel for what was necessary. We played Dakarai Allen and D’Erryl Williams (Sheldon High) and I saw what I needed to get to.”

One element was to persist in working on his shooting. “My shot was inconsistent so we tweaked things.” He credits “Coach Merv, the Kennedy varsity assistant coach,” for continued assistance in this area.

About the success of his E-Time Hoops Academy squad, Taira explained, “People see us and think we're a JV team. We went 4-1 in the Platinum Division in Vegas, beating the top team in Ohio.” Such ‘upsets’ happen despite the absence of multiple bigs or amazing team athleticism because fundamental play, more often than not, produces good looks offensively and turnovers plus missed shots on the defensive end.

Taira is looking to major in business management with the idea of operating his own business.

He also offered this truth: “you can be on any team if you can shoot the basketball.” But he brings so much more, tangible and intangible.