Penn State's pursuit of 6-foot-3 combo guard Dwayne Cohill brought the Cleveland product to campus last weekend for the Nittany Lions' Elite Camp at the Bryce Jordan Center.
Dwayne Cohill didn't compete at Penn State's Elite Camp on Saturday or Sunday, but he made the four hour trip from Cleveland anyway.
Tight with the Nittany Lion coaching staff and its players, Cohill said he just wanted to spend some more time around a program that has been after him for years now.
"They've been recruiting me forever. Since my freshman year," said Cohill. "I got a great relationship with them, so the fact that I'm giving up my time to come down here shows I'm really interested in them. I came to see the competition, chill with the guys, chill with the players, chill with the coaches and just get some shots up. Meet everybody and keep building my relationships."
As it relates to his eventual college decision, those relationships are a critical element to how he'll make his choice. And, as heavily recruited by schools big and small from across the country as he's been, Cohill has no problem acknowledging how stressful the recruiting process has now become.
Presently holding 20 offers, Cohill plans to cut his choices to 10 schools by the end of July. From there, he said he’ll likely take a few weeks to continue building his relationships with the schools pursuing him hardest, then selecting five programs to spend his official visits on.
“It's stressful, especially now,” said Cohill, noting how quickly his final season at Holy Name is approaching. “I’m a month and a half away from my senior year so I gotta start getting into it.”
As the recruiting process now stands for Cohill, that will mean certain official visits to at least two schools he is eying.
“I’m going to do UNLV for sure and I'm coming to Penn State for sure. That's two,” said Cohill. “We'll see about Ohio State. That's a possibility. It's a big possibility. There's a little preview for everybody.”
The in-state Buckeyes recently offered him again, now under the direction of new head coach Chris Holtmann who had already developed a strong relationship with Cohill while at Butler. Along with Penn State and UNLV, Cohill said he’s also considering Virginia Tech, Northwestern, Texas, and Vanderbilt, among others. Said Cohill, “I gotta take it slow and not just fall in love with something just because of something they say to me or something I see on my visit.”
Helping guide his Holy Name program to the state playoffs last season, capping a 23-4 season with a 64-54 loss to Elida in the Division II regional semifinal, Cohill was selected to the Cleveland.com all-star team for the 2016-17 season.
Determined to build on the success of last season, Cohill has set goals to be Ohio’s Mr. Basketball and its Gatorade Player of the Year as well as earning an elusive state title. Having averaged 22.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.5 steals for the season according to stats compiled by Cleveland.com, Cohill was the only underclassman among this year’s all-stars.
A self-described guard whose best attribute is attacking on both sides of the ball, Cohill said he’s also made strides with his jumper. Asked what he might bring to the program that winds up landing him in the college game, Cohill said he believes his intensity will translate.
“I'm just a dog. I want to win,” said Cohill. “I’m not a fan of losing, I don't like to lose, I'm going to do whatever I can. I don't care if we're down 10 points with three minutes left, I'm coming out and I'm going to come at your neck and make sure we find a way to win. I just feel like I bring something different to the program.”
Noting the progress the Penn State hoops program has made in bringing higher quality recruits into the fold recently, Cohill said he watched 90 percent of the Nittany Lions’ games last season.
Enticed by the possible opportunity to play alongside Penn State point guard Tony Carr, Cohill also said he might provide the piece that propels the program to the next level.
“It's like they're just missing one thing. Tony is a great player and I feel like me and Tony could definitely do something really well,” said Cohill. “I feel like if I came in, we could definitely work well with each other. We played with each other a couple of times in open gyms and everything, so I know how his game is, he knows my game a little bit. I feel like we definitely could change it around and start winning and get to where we want the program to be.”
Steadfast in his commitment to taking the recruiting process deliberately, though, the pitches from the likes of Carr and Penn State Class of 2018 verbal Myles Dread haven’t swayed Cohill into making a decision yet. Instead, Cohill said he’ll take his time, talk over his options with his family, and once everyone is ready, he’ll pull the trigger.
“It's crazy. I got 20 offers right now. Out of the 20, I'm only going to be able to go to one school and there's so many relationships I've built,” said Cohill. “So having to tell just one school I'm coming there is just going to be hard. But it's something I gotta do and it's a big decision.”