“It felt great to be out there,” Kuminga said afterwards. “Ive been doing my therapy. I was ready today and I told my coach that I was ready so he just let me out here to catch up with my teammates.”
Kuminga’s head coach, Chris Chavannes, was bullish on his star’s performance, calling it “fabulous.”
“His lateral and vertical movement was tremendous, and his timing was pretty good,” he said. “This game was not Roselle Catholic, it’s not one of our rival teams, not one of the nationally ranked teams, but you don’t look at it from that perspective. You just look at his mobility and his timing and his vision, all his skill set, and you saw it out there. In practice he’s been tremendous also.” Before Kuminga was injured, both Kentucky coach John Calipari and Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski watched him play this season. Kuminga is a projected top-10 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft and is working towards having the option this summer to reclassify into 2020.
The Patrick School, the No. 2 team in New Jersey, has experienced a litany of injuries this season, as well as having to wait for several transfers, such as top 50 junior forward Adama Sanogo, who scored 16 points in Wednesday’s game, to become eligible. Without Sanogo, but with Kuminga, the Celtics beat Roselle Catholic on Dec. 23 at the Kyrie Irving Invitational. On Saturday they beat the Lions again at Roselle Catholic without Kuminga and with Sanogo going for 23 points and 17 rebounds This game was the most complete lineup the Celtics have put together all year.
“Pretty much everyone on the team is excited that finally we’re all back together,” Kuminga remarked. “Since we all came to this school we never played together as a team on the same court, so we’re all very happy to be back.”
On his shoes, Kuminga paid tribute to Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, writing their names along with the numbers 8 and 24. The team met Bryant at Barclays Center on Dec. 21 ahead of the Kyrie Invitational, and for Kuminga, he was meeting more than just a basketball player.
“Me as a kid, I watched his games, and I really enjoyed watching him,” Kuminga said. “He was like my favorite player, and I keep watching him even if he’s not here. Anytime I’m free and I have nothing to do, I just watch his highlights. I was supposed to be working out with him this summer, but it is what it is. “
.@KyrieIrving May be out but he remains dedicated to @JonathanKuming6 and— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) December 22, 2019
the kids at his alma mater @tps_hsbb and tonight they got to meet @kobebryant too. pic.twitter.com/v4EqPfWMce
When asked what lessons he took from watching Bryant, Kuminga said, “I took a lot. Being a leader. How to speak to people. Not just about basketball, but about life.”
The Patrick School has plenty to look forward to coming up, with games against national power Huntington Prep (WV) and local power Wildwood Catholic this weekend at the Metro Classic in Toms River, but Kuminga, finally back healthy after a month on the shelf, is ready to take on all comers.
“Everybody is gonna hate us because we’re all coming for everybody, so we just have to be ready,” he said.
New Brunswick’s Ayhan Brown-Miller led all scorers in the game with 32 points on eight made 3’s, and scored his 1,500th career point in the process. Follow James on Twitter Follow Adam Zagoria on Twitter And Like ZAGS on Facebook