By KRIS MILLS – firstname.lastname@example.org
Zach Kuhn is a smart kid. Calling him a kid almost feels wrong, though. Mature beyond his years, the Shelbyville senior guard, who sports a 4.3 GPA, undoubtedly has a bright future.
Humble, quiet and driven, Kuhn is a rare breed. How many kids actually get to continue their basketball careers at the Division I level? It takes a special individual — on and off the court.
Approximately two percent of high school athletes are awarded some form of athletics scholarship to compete in college (Divisions I-III), according to ncaa.com.
Kuhn is aware. So he wanted to make the best decision possible. Even smart people need to ask questions.
‘What is best for me?’
Kuhn’s answer is Army West Point in West Point, New York. The Shelbyville Golden Bears’ Twitter account for basketball announced Kuhn’s decision on Aug. 14.
“We met for a couple hours, he just had some final questions and needed some reassurance that he was making the right decision,” said Shelbyville head coach Ryan Mack, referring to a meeting with Kuhn the night before his decision was made public. “Really intelligent people like to get a lot of other people’s opinions and ideas on what they are about to do before they do it. That is how Zach is. Everything was leaning towards West Point.
“I see it as a perfect fit. I think he can play at a lot of places. I still don’t know if there was a better fit, though, with what they offer and the mechanical engineering for him. It is a testament to him and his family and the work ethic they created within him.”
Kuhn agreed. The all-around package was too much to pass up.
“They have a great engineering program,” Kuhn said first. “Everyone I talked to there was a great person. They wanted to share their knowledge and make sure I had the right fit. When it came down to picking a school, not only was the coaching staff one of the best I have been around, the people there were above and beyond. If I go here, I can be set up for a lot of things I want to be doing (in the future). They want to push you to your maximum potential.”
Army competes in the Patriot League with Navy, Bucknell and Holy Cross, among others. The team was 13-17 overall (6-12 in conference) last season under head coach Jimmy Allen, who was hired in 2016. Kuhn said he will likely play off the ball in college, using his soft shooting touch and high IQ to work around screens within Army’s offense.
“They like the way I can score the ball, my threat as a shooter is something I got recruited for,” Kuhn said, who went on his official visit with the program a week before deciding. “They feel like they can turn me into a stretch guard, though, that can handle the ball and score. They want to run me off a lot of screens. Being a shooter and being a guard for court vision is something they really want to use me for.”
As a junior for Shelbyville, the 6-foot-4 Kuhn averaged 20.0 points and 9.0 rebounds per game. He also tallied 3.7 assists and 1.8 steals per contest while shooting 48 percent from the field. Kuhn had a season-high 36 points, twice, against Triton Central and Franklin Community and is on pace to become the all-time leading scorer at SHS.
The son of Travis and Misti Kuhn, Kuhn was named a Junior Indiana All-Star and spent the summer playing against tough competition on his G3 Grind AAU team. This season for the Golden Bears, Kuhn will be an even bigger target for opposing defenses with the graduation of a talented senior class.
The college decision is off his mind, however. Now it is all hoops.
“Army is a great place,” Kuhn said. “It was kind of a long process. I have been talking to my parents every night and thinking about it in school. I just wanted to be 100 percent sure. Talking with the coaches helped. I was 99 percent sure. I was turning in my sleep trying to decide what to do. It was consuming me everywhere I went. It was nice (to finally decide).”
Kris Mills is the Sports editor of The Shelbyville News. Follow Kris on Twitter @KrisMills37.