Coby Karl: Only the Strong Survive
LAS VEGAS, July 8, 2007 -- This past season as a senior at Boise State, Coby Karl averaged 14.8 points, four rebounds and four assists per game. Apparently those numbers weren't good enough for Karl to hear his name called at the 2007 NBA Draft.
“I knew there was a chance that might happen,” Karl said. “That adds more fuel to the fire and is another obstacle for me to overcome.”
Playing against a stacked deck is nothing new for Karl, who had 10 points, a rebound and an assist in 27 minutes of work for the Lakers, who edged the Bucks, 66-64, in the opener for both teams at NBA Summer League.
Ask any player in the NBA and they will tell you that in order to make the league, you have to get some battle scars. Karl has his as a result of having cancerous lymph nodes removed from his throat almost three months ago. It was his second fight with cancer in a little more than a year.
“I feel good right now,” Karl said. “My levels are good. My biggest concern was getting in shape. After the summer league, I’m going to sit down with my doctors.”
While his final stats from Sunday's game aren't spectacular, they did show that he has come a long way in a short time.
“This is a lot of fun and I’m glad I can be a part of this,” the guard said. “Being on the Lakers gives me an opportunity to continue to keep working on my game."
The Celtics and Bobcats also showed interest in Karl.
“I like the triangle offense and this is a good chance for me to play,” Karl said. “Although it is a difficult offense to run, I study after practice. I’m trying to get to the point where I can just react and not have to think. I feel like I have a chance to make the team. I can do a lot of different things and in our offense there really isn’t a point guard. You just play guard. Wherever the team wants me to play or whatever they want me to do, I'll do. I just want to get on the floor."
Against the Bucks, Karl moved well without the ball and showed a nice touch on his jumper. If he improves in his man-to-man defense, he is capable of earning a roster spot.
"I have a good knowledge of the game and I enjoy passing and cutting," Karl said.
He should have good knowledge of the game. His father is Nuggets head coach George Karl. George, who was present for Coby's game, while waiting on his own team to take the floor later in the day, was treated for prostate cancer two years ago.
“I didn’t really want to play for my dad in Denver,” Coby said. “I wanted to spread my wings and I didn’t want people to be saying that the only reason I was there was because my dad was there.”
George gave a brief scouting report on his son.
“I thought he played pretty good today,” George said. “He wasn’t special but he was solid. He’ll keep practicing and get better. He makes good decisions with the ball. His strength is his basketball IQ and he is a good fit with the Lakers. One of the things that he does well that you didn’t get to see today is his ability to run the break.”
When asked if he watches Coby like a father or a coach, George didn’t hesitate with his answer.
“I’m like any other father,” George said. “When he makes a good play, I cheer.”
After all that Coby has been through to get to this point, he shouldn't be the only one.