Interview: Bucknell’s Bryan Cohen

Many of us haven’t heard too much from Bucknell since their upset of Kansas in 2005. But for TGR readers there is another reason to follow Bison and his name is Bryan Cohen. Cohen had a solid 8ppg last season and this year looks to improve. We caught up with Cohen who graciously gave us some of his time. Below is the interview:

1) Tell TGR a little bit about yourself?
My name is Bryan Cohen and I am a junior at Bucknell University. I play small forward on the basketball team here at Bucknell. I have been playing in the Maccabi Games ever since I have been a teenager and got to travel all around the country as well as Israel. From what I remember I played in the Maccabi Games in Philadelphia (My home town), Boston, Memphis, and Israel.

2) What got you into basketball? Was it always your best sport?
I have been playing basketball all of my life. I was fortunate enough to have an older brother that loved the game of basketball as well and he was able to teach me the skills of the game. Growing up he used to beat up on me on and off the court, which I hated when I was younger but made me the player I am today. Yes basketball has always been my best sport. My dad had me play almost every sport when I was younger, to have me experience them all and choose which I liked best. Once I started playing basketball I immediately fell in love with the game.

3) When did you realize you had the talent to play at the college level? Why did you pick Bucknell?

To tell you the truth I didn’t realize that playing division one basketball was a reachable goal until my older brother signed to play at University of Pennsylvania. Growing up I was always as step ahead when my brother was at the same age, so I knew that all the hard work that I was putting in the gym was going to pay off and I would have a good chance to play division one basketball. The reason I chose Bucknell was because it is a great academic school, great basketball program, and has a rich basketball tradition. I remember after my visit I knew that this was the school for me and signed the next day when I got home. 

4) Do you remember when Bucknell upset Kansas in the tournament? Do people in school still talk about that game?
Yes I do remember when Bucknell upset Kansas. That was actually the first time I heard of Bucknell and have been following them ever since. Yes some of the students on campus those either don’t go to the games or don’t know basketball ask me how it was to beat Kansas, but they don’t realize that it happened almost 5 years ago.

5) How is the team shaping up? How do you like your chances to get to the tournament?

I feel very confident this year about our chances. We have 4 out of 5 starters returning from last year and a lot of our guys have tons of game experience. Last year we had a lot of talent but our guys were young and inexperienced. This year we have everyone returning expect one with everyone experienced and focused on bringing home a Patriot League Championship.

6) Last year you were the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year. What did that mean to you? Is defensive something that you pride yourself on?
It was a great honor to receive the DPOY award. Defense is something I pride my game on and allows me to stay on the court. Every game my coach assigns me to the best opposing offensive player and my job is to limit his touches and I enjoy doing what is needed for our team to win. So winning the DPOY is a great recognition for me personally, but my goal is to receive the Patriot League championship trophy while I am at Bucknell for the next two years. 

7) Who is the best player you have ever had to guard?
That’s a good question. Let’s see in high school it would have to be either Tyreke Evans or Wayne Ellington and in college it would have to be Jeff Teague from Wake Forest who is plays for the Atlanta Hawks.

8) What was your Maccabiah experience like? Would you ever consider going overseas to Israel to ball pro ball?
Playing in the Maccabi Games was an amazing experience. Everything from the opening ceremonies, competitive games, and nightly activities was something I will never forget. The best part of the Maccabi Games was not the basketball but the friendships. I have developed friends with teammates and other Jewish kids that I met that I will always be in touch with. Yes playing overseas in Israel is a goal of mine in the future when I am done playing college basketball. After playing in the Maccabi Games two summers ago I was able to talk to some of my teammates who play professional basketball in Israel and see how they liked it. They all said it is something you should experience if you are able to and that is something I hope I can do in the future.

9) Who is the best Jewish basketball player you have ever played against?
The best Jewish player that I ever played against would have to be Dan Grunfeild. I never technically played against him because he was on the same team with me that won the Gold in the Maccabi Games two summers ago. However, I was able to play against him every day in training camp before we left for the games.

10) What your plans after graduation?

I am not really sure for my plans after graduation. I plan to graduate with a degree in economics and I plan to pursue a career to play professional basketball in Israel after I graduate from Bucknell.

Thanks again to Bryan Cohen. Good luck this season.
And Let Us Say…Amen.
-Jeremy Fine


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