Trinity Prep’s senior shooting guard Kobe Eichelberger has been playing basketball since the age of three— and he doesn’t plan on stopping now. Eichelberger has been contacted by dozens of college coaches, received a multitude of recruitment letters and made official visits to three universities.
“I have always dreamed about playing basketball in college,” Eichelberger said. “I am very fortunate that these dreams are actually coming true for me.”
Letters of recruitment continue to flow in for Eichelberger, with a pile currently at 20 letters. Appalachian State, Mercer, Air Force, Navy, Sewanee, Rhodes, Wheaton and Denison— to name a few— have all reached out to Eichelberger. About 100 college coaches have contacted him via email, phone call and text message. Coaches from Bucknell and Rhodes have already come to watch Eichelberger’s practices.
The NESCAC, which stands for New England Small College Athletic Conference, includes Wesleyan University, where Eichelberger made one of his official visits to in August. Wesleyan is located in Middletown, Connecticut, less than two hours from both New York City and Boston. Eichelberger also went on official visits to Wheaton College and Denison University in September. He said his favorite was Wheaton College, located just 40 minutes outside of Chicago, where he was able to stay in a dorm with the Wheaton basketball players.
When asked where he would play if he could play anywhere, Eichelberger didn’t have to think twice before saying the University of Florida. As a lifelong Florida Gator fan, he mentioned that it would be a tough decision between playing basketball for a Division II or III team and going to UF as a non-athlete.
“If I don’t play Division I, I think Division III is the way to go because it has really good academics,” Eichelberger said. “I’m also looking for a university next to a big city.”
Co-captain and fellow senior Ben French has been playing basketball with Eichelberger for all four years of high school and has seen a recent increase in his focus.
“As for Kobe’s work ethic, he has really stepped it up in the past year,” French said. “He shoots hundreds of shots before and after school.”
Eichelberger has lofty goals for his team and himself this year. He was on the All-District team last year with former teammates Roger Holler and TJ Amalbert, both of whom graduated last year. If he plays well throughout the entire season, Eichelberger is confident that he will have a good chance at becoming District Player of the Year.
Eichelberger also wants the team to win Districts this year, which would be his second district championship title; the team won previously in the 2012-2013 season when Eichelberger was a sophomore.
The Saints’ new head basketball coach Irwin Hudson is sure to have a good year with a team full of talent and perseverance. When asked how he came upon the new head-coaching job for the Saints, Hudson remarked that he “just happened to be in the right place at the right time.” Hudson is excited to coach Eichelberger for his senior year and said that Kobe has a lot more strengths than weaknesses, which will surely show this season.
“Kobe is getting better and better everyday. I am so impressed with his progress as a player, teammate and leader,” Hudson said. “He’s right on pace to take us where we need to go.”
Hudson is the owner and founder of Orlando Hoops, a training facility located down the road from Trinity Prep. He began training players in 1995 and officially opened “OHoops” in 1999. Hudson’s passion for basketball has led him to the opportunity of personally training NBA players such as Chandler Parsons, Kevin Durant and Dwight Howard.
Eichelberger explained that Coach Hudson wants a faster paced offense than former head coach David Davis. Such an offense will fit the Saints better this year with the addition of juniors Will Miles and Blake Garfinkel, both from Lake Highland Preparatory School, who are accustomed to a faster paced game.
French added that Coach Hudson is giving his players a lot of freedom to push the ball in transition and to create plays for themselves. Eichelberger’s versatility as a player will allow him opportunity to utilize more of his skills.
“I’ve known Coach Hudson since third grade so he really knows how I play. He has helped me through the recruiting process as well,” Eichelberger said. “Coach Hudson has reached out to a couple of coaches and will continue to do so during the season so that will help me a lot.”
Eichelberger looks to make a lasting mark on Trinity Prep’s basketball program during his senior season. He continues to embrace the positive changes and additions that the varsity team faces this season and said that he expects his team to be one of the best that the school has seen in years.