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Athlete of the Issue - Tal Kahn

Jonah Pappas

Staff Writer

I had the pleasure of sitting down with a star sophomore basketball player Tal Kahn today to chat about his life and his basketball career so far, so here is an excerpt of that conversation.

Jonah: Hi, Tal. Thanks for doing this interview. Can you share your basketball journey? When did you start playing and what drew you to the game?

Tal: I started playing in elementary school for a little rec league in Philadelphia. Growing up in Philly led to more competition in sports and really helped me improve as a player. What really inspired me was wanting to dunk. I've also always liked watching and following the NBA and other sports.

J: As a sophomore, you're already standing out on the court. What goals do you have set for next season?

T: Well my goal in my career is to reach 1000 points. For the team, I want to win multiple games in the Friends League. 

J: Can you describe a particularly memorable game or moment from this season and what it meant to you?

T: In our first real game, Carter hit a buzzer-beating layup. It was an excellent comeback win. 

J: What are some of the biggest challenges you've faced in your basketball career so far, and how have you worked to overcome them?

T: I've had a lot of injuries, I broke my ankle twice in the span of six months. I had to go through so much physical therapy to recover but it was worth it in the end.

J: How do you view your role on the team, as a young player among so many fantastic upperclassmen?

T: I think my role this year was just to score as much as possible. 

J: I believe that you either led the team in scoring or at least came very close, how does that affect your mentality going into next year?

T: Obviously it's great that I was able to score so much, but there's always room for improvement. I'm locked in, and ready to go at all times. 

J: Aside from basketball, what other hobbies do you have?

T: I enjoy business, I'm into stocks, bonds, etc. I also lift a lot of weights, which helps me on the court. 

J: How do you give back to your community, are there specific causes that are meaningful to you?

T: Shoutout to my friends who run Scope Club, they give back a lot. Scope is an organization that helps kids from low-income families go to summer camp. They have a 5k coming up so everyone should sign up for that. 

J: Can you talk about the support systems that have been crucial to your development as a student-athlete?

T: My teachers are always there for me, if I miss an assignment due to basketball they are understanding. The faculty here at Barrack is very supportive.

J: Can you share a typical training day for you?

T: I wake up at 6 o clock every morning, it's a far commute to barrack (45 minutes). I go to school and then have an hour and a half of basketball, I then go home and head to the gym. After the gym, I do my homework and then go to bed. 

J: do you see yourself in the basketball world in five years? If so, how are you working to get there?

T: I'm not really sure, I don't exactly know what I want to do. I think if I work hard enough I could possibly go D3, but I'm really not sure what I want to do yet. 

J: You've had a tough basketball career, last year the coach was brand new to the system, and this year was the same thing, how has that turmoil affected your play?

T: Last year was my first year in the varsity program, so it was a new experience. With time I adapted well, and this year I was ready for anything. At the end of the day, you're here to play basketball, no matter what coach you have. That being said, the coaching staff had little to no effect on my mindset and how I played.

J: Have you had any coaches or mentors that have significantly affected your game?

T: I think all my coaches have helped me as much as possible. But someone who has always pushed me to my limits is my father. If I have a bad game he's always motivating me and helping. But he's also pushing me to my limits, making sure that I'm trying my best at all times.

J: Basketball, like life, has ups and downs, can you share a time when you faced adversity and what you learned from the experience?

T: When I broke my ankle the first time, it was rough but I got through it. Then I played basketball in the summer, went to a tournament in Florida, and broke my ankle again. If I’m being honest, I was considering quitting basketball altogether. But I went through physical therapy and worked hard to recover, and when I got back on the court it was such a surreal feeling. 

J: Along with Jonah Pappas and Sam Mildenberg you are going to Muss at the beginning of the year next year, how do you plan on training for basketball during that time?

T: We're still figuring it out, I know there is a weight room there. But I'm not sure if there is a basketball court. Whatever the facilities are, me and the boys are going to try our best to stay active. 

J: How would you describe your leadership style on the court?

T: I think leadership comes with great responsibility, and this year we had a great group of upperclassmen to lead. However, I still felt like I motivated some of the younger guys. Younger guys, when they were in slumps, I helped them out of it and got them back on track.

J: Every athlete has a dream scenario, what's yours and how are you working to achieve it?

T: I really want to dunk in a game, so I've been training my legs and my vertical to be able to do so one day. Watching the NBA so much you see guys throwing down windmills and tomahawks, it's a basketball staple that I want to achieve.

J: Can you recall a specific moment or game that solidified your love for basketball?

T: Yes, it was 8th grade, I was on the 8th grade barrack team and we played Friends Central. It may have been the best game the team had all season. We only had five guys and we just played our hearts out. I think we ended up losing by 4, but it was still such an amazing game. It was one of those games where you go to sleep that night feeling accomplished

J: Well Tal, thank you so much for joining me today.

T: It was a pleasure to be here!


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