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Boys Basketball: Marian Catholic’s Josh Cohn has all the smarts, on and off the court

Josh Cohn Marian Catholic | Gary Middendorf/For Sun-Times Media

Josh Cohn, of Marian Catholic | Gary Middendorf/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: March 7, 2014 1:05PM



How many jocks on a
No. 1-ranked team would refer to themselves as a “nerd?”

Few, if any.

Josh Cohn is not your ordinary jock, though.

The senior guard ranks among Marian Catholic’s most prized students, boasting a 3.75 grade-point average and 28 on the ACT.

From a young age, Cohn always had a knack for wanting to learn.

If that makes him a bit of a nerd, he’s cool with that.

“I’ve always been kind of a nerd,” he said with a little laugh. “I’ve always liked learning. It’s never been a struggle for me to sit down and study.”

That’s little surprise, considering how much of a priority Cohn’s parents have placed on education. Mom Rita McGuire is a gynecologist, dad Jeff Cohn is an educational consultant. Dad was an excellent athlete in his own right, having played football at Northwestern.

“Education was always the most important thing for my mom and dad,” said Cohn, an Olympia Fields resident. “When I was younger they would always ask, ‘Did you do your homework?’ They would stay on top of me and made sure I had good study habits.”

Cohn’s older brother Jacob, a Rich Central graduate, is a senior at Hampton University. Younger sister Hanna is a sophomore at St. Ignatius.

“My sister is the epitome of student-athlete,” Cohn said. “She’s ranked among the best in the 100 dash and she’s a straight-A student.”

Cohn’s first love growing up was baseball, which he played until high school.

“My dad wanted me to be a baseball star,” Cohn said. “But the game became boring. Sometimes you just sit in the field and the ball doesn’t come to you. You’re always moving in basketball. I love getting up and down the court.”

No team has been better at getting up and down the court than Marian Catholic, the SouthtownStar’s top-ranked team. While much of the spotlight centers on point guard Tyler Ulis, and deservedly so, the Spartans’ supporting cast has proved worthy of attention, too. During Friday’s win over Marist, Ulis was second in scoring to Cohn, who finished with a team-high 16 points. For the season, Cohn is averaging 9.1 points.

However, it’s his ability to score, rebound, set up teammates and handle the ball that makes Cohn a valuable piece to the puzzle.

“It doesn’t matter to us who scores the most points,” Cohn said. “We’re very focused on our goal (state championship) and we’ll do anything to reach our goal.”

Cohn isn’t certain where he’ll attend college. He is certain, though, that he wants to play college basketball. St. John’s (Minnesota), Babson (Massachusetts) and the University of Chicago all have shown interest.

He’s considering majoring in financing.

“I would like to do something with international business,” he said. “We live in a global economy. I’d like to help the economy of less-developed countries — areas in Africa or smaller countries in South America — to help those who don’t have the opportunities we have in America.”



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