With Kobe Bryant’s impending retirement from the National Basketball Association, another Kobe is on the rise in Los Angeles.
Filipino teen basketball star Kobe Paras is now officially a UCLA Bruin.
The news was made official by the university’s men’s basketball team on Twitter on Thursday.
The 18-year-old Paras also posted an update on his Twitter account.
Standing at 6-foot-6, Paras first played for La Salle Greenhills in the Philippines before leaving for LA to play for Cathedral High School, where he caught the eye of UCLA head coach Steve Alford.
Just recently, Paras has started playing high school ball for Middlebrooks Academy and the Compton Magic club team.
Also a product of the Jr. NBA program in the Philippines, Paras has been a UCLA-commit the past couple of years and his signing formalizes the start of his collegiate career in Division I of the US NCAA.
“We’re always looking for players who’ve grown up immersed in basketball, and Kobe definitely fits that mold,” Alford said of Paras in a statement, one of the sons of Filipino basketball legend Benjie Paras, the only Rookie of the Year-MVP awardee in the Philippine Basketball Association.
“He just loves the game. To add a talented player like Kobe to our program is terrific. He’s a very athletic guard who plays with tremendous energy. We like how he can attack off the dribble and get to the rim in the open court, and we’re excited that he’ll be joining us in Westwood,” Alford added.
Joining the high-leaping Paras in the Bruins’ roster are point guard Lonzo Ball out of Chino Hills, who’s considered the number one player in California and a bonafide NBA prospect, and 6-foot-10 big man Ike Anigbogu of Corona Centennial.
ESPN currently ranks Paras with 3 out of 5 stars and a scouting grade of 74.
Under Alford’s tutelage, UCLA has made appearances in the NCAA Sweet 16 in the past two years and also won the 2014 Pac-12 championship led by reigning NBA slam dunk king Zach LaVine who now plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves.