MANILA — “I’m going pro.”
Those were the three words Kobe Paras uttered at the end of a video that he posted on his social media accounts on Friday.
The video showed him doing some of his dribbling, shooting, and dunking skills with some highlight reels from his high school days and his SEA Games stint, telling everyone that he is ready to make waves outside college.
The development came on the heels of a management shakeup at CalSUN.
Former NBA star Reggie Theus was fired as coach, while Brandon Martin was relieved of his duties as athletic director, and Middlebrooks Academy, where Paras honed his skills during high school, said the firing made Paras leave the university without playing even a single game for the Matadors.
“This decision has set the stage for Kobe Paras to test the waters and as of today, has decided to enter the professional world of basketball,” Middlebrooks said in a statement.
Paras’ case is basically a one-and-done scenario as he played his freshman season at Creighton, only getting limited minutes, before transferring to CSUN. He would have been eligible to play for the latter next season.
Paras’ US NCAA stint was already a whirlwind ride even before it began.
The six-foot-six former La Salle Greenhills and Cathedral High School star committed to UCLA, but reported academic issues prompted him to transfer to Creighton.
However, with the roster too deep and him looking to play more minutes, Paras decided to go back to Hollywood and join CSUN, only that his stint was cut short with the firing of Theus and Martin.
Paras, nonetheless, “thanks CSUN, Coach Theus, and all the coaching staff for the opportunity to be a Matador”, according to the Middlebrooks’ statement.
Middlebrooks also clarified, “Kobe is in great academic as well as behavioral standing with CSUN and will be welcomed back if he decides not to sign with an agent and play collegiate basketball for the 2018-19 season.”
The academy also said that Paras “will begin intense training full time and look forward to demonstrating his skills to professional teams and scouts. Kobe will also begin to build his ‘Professional Brand Development Team’ and start to pursue endorsement opportunities.
Middlebrooks said his father, PBA legend Benjie, will support his professional stint along with his family.
“Kobe is mature enough to handle his decision and knows his country is behind him,” said the elder Paras, whose statement was included in Middlebrooks’ official statement. PNAnorthboundasia.com