Senior boys basketball was not friendly to Kohl Linder last year.
The Princess Margaret Mustang, not in Grade 12, discovered he needed to bulk up his six-foot-five frame.
“I was getting pushed around a little bit by the bigger Grade 12s,” said Linder, who knocked in 13 points, including a bucket from long distance range, while grabbing eight boards, to help the Mustangs thrash the George Elliot Coyotes 86-46 on Dec. 17 and improve to 2-0 in Okanagan AA league play.
Entering his final year of high school basketball, Linder wants to use his size to his advantage. Early signs point to that not being a problem as the Coyotes couldn’t contain him in the key.
Mustangs co-coach Andrew Sexton has seen the improvement. He said the added strength has helped Linder attack the basket more. He’s also more confident offensively after struggling in that area last season. Along with being able to work in the tough areas under the basket for points, Linder is showing a touch from three-point range.
“Last year he didn’t take any,” said Sexton. “His shooting has gotten better. He is not forcing shots like he was last year.”
Linder is also playing a smarter game, which Sexton attributes to him playing during the spring.
“It has definitely improved his game,” said Sexton.
All the effort is for one reason: He wants to play at the university level.
“Sports is a really important part of my life,” said Linder, who wants to be a leader for the Mustangs and help them reach provincials while getting noticed by universities.
Linder feels he has been shooting better, making free throws, while playing a cleaner game.
He gets inspiration from NBA star Kobe Bryant and former Mustangs teammate Jas Sahota, who played a smart, skilled game.
“I have always liked Kobe Bryant because he puts in the work,” said Linder, who collected 14 points in a 62-55 win over the Summerland Rockets Dec. 10.