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Paras can play in NBA – coach

Reggie Theus believes Kobe Paras has all the tools to fulfill his NBA dream, provided that he puts the work in.

The NBA legend is not saying such remark just for the sake of getting good PR. Theus is set to coach Paras at Cal State Northridge following the 19-year-old’s transfer from Creighton University a few months ago.

“I think he has a chance to be anything he wants to be, it depends on how hard he’s gonna work for it,” said Theus during the Gatorade NBA Training Center activity yesterday at the Gatorade Hoops Center in Mandaluyong City.

Theus, who prominently played for the Chicago Bulls and Sacramento Kings in the 70s and 80s and coached the Kings in 2008, is in town as part of the NBA 3X Philippines event set this weekend at the SM Mall of Asia, alongside Oklahoma City bruiser Steven Adams.

He won’t get a chance to ask Paras to tour him around the city due to the latter’s duties with Gilas Pilipinas in the William Jones Cup in Taiwan.

They will soon be reunited in the Southern California campus, where Theus hopes to play a part in Paras’ dream.

“He’s 19 years old and I was 19 years old when I played my first year in the NBA, so I don’t give him that excuse,” Theus said. “But the fact he’s there and he’s learning is what’s tremendous for me.

“I like the fact that he’s not afraid, that’s what’s really nice about him, and he’s such a humble human being and a gracious person. And the one thing I told him when we had a meeting is to become a great teammate. ‘Don’t worry about all the things around you; just become a great teammate and everything will take care of itself.’”

Theus believes the experience in the Jones Cup and the subsequent one-year residency at Cal State should benefit Paras in the long run, hopefully boosting his chances at achieving his ultimate goal.

“I expect (the Jones Cup) to be an invaluable experience. As his coach, I want him to go play against older players, so this is a great time for him. The year that he’s gonna sit out, we will work on all the things he needs to work on to get better, and I think this experience is gonna catapult him into a better place,” said Theus.