Heading into his first year at Grand Rapids Community College, Brockton Kohler did not receive any attention from college recruiters. Kohler’s relentlessness and passion for the game led him to reach out to GRCC men’s basketball head coach Joe Fox for a chance to play at the next level.
“Joe Fox and my love for the game brought me to GRCC,” Kohler, 19, from Greenville, said. “I was out of school for two years and I knew I was wasting my talents by not playing college basketball. I reached out to coach Fox and GRCC willingly gave me a shot.”
Before getting into his success, it is important to note the journey Kohler has been on. Kohler started his basketball career at Greenville High School, a small school in Greenville, Michigan and graduated in 2018. Greenville is not known for the basketball prospects from its area, so for Kohler, it was an immense deal.
“Coming from a smaller school definitely means a lot,” Kohler said. “You don’t see many people go play college basketball out of Greenville and I hope my success can be used as inspiration for the youth back home.”
Throughout his time at GRCC, Kohler has not only matured on the basketball court but off the court as well. He has found a love for finance and is looking to make a difference once his basketball career is over.
“One passion I have outside of basketball is teaching financial literacy. I love helping people my age set their futures up for success financially,” Kohler said. “I found a true passion for finance and I’m loving what I am doing so far.”
Kohler’s freshman year of basketball was shortened due to COVID-19, but in 11 games, Kohler averaged 4.4 PPG and 1.8 APG in 14.5 MPG. Although Kohler had a minimal role his freshman year, he continued to grind and spend extra time in the gym.
“Brock is a gym rat,” Fox said. “He is almost always the first in the gym, and does a great job being an example for his younger teammates. He is also very strong academically, in addition to his on court success.”
In his second season, Kohler saw a huge jump in minutes which correlated to more success. Kohler doubled his minutes compared to the 2020 season in which he started 26 of the 28 games. He averaged 11.9 PPG, 5.5 RPG, and 2.3 APG while averaging a 3-point percentage of 32.4%.This breakout was not a surprise for coach Fox, as his work ethic led him to the point he’s at today.
“His improvement his second year was a direct result of his countless hours in the gym,” Fox said. “He continued to work on his shot, physicality, and mental aspect of basketball.”
Since Kohler played during the COVID season, he received an extra year of eligibility which allowed Kohler to return for his third season while also becoming a team captain. Kohler has not only improved his basketball skills in his time at GRCC, but he has matured into a better man on and off the court.
“I think Brock has really grown since his first season on campus,” Fox said. “He’s matured into the team captain and has embraced his role with the expectations that come with it.”
Kohler’s biggest improvement this season has been his field-goal percentage. In 2021, Kohler shot 99-312 (31.7%) from the field. As of Tuesday, Feb.28, Kohler is shooting 95-216 (44%) from the field which is about a 13% increase. He also improved his 3-point percentage from 32.4% to 37.9%. The shooting improvements come from work ethic, but freshman guard Carter Thomas believes his success is also a result of an increase in team chemistry.
“Whenever Brock is playing well, it directly affects how the team plays and how intense we are,” Thomas said. “He is the type of player that the rest of the guys rally behind and he is a teammate I have learned a lot from.”
The togetherness of the Raiders men’s basketball team has been displayed throughout the season, as the team sits at 19-7 on the season which is the most wins in a season since the 2018-19 season.
Kohler has kept the same mentality throughout the season that has spread to his teammates.
“The goals for this season remain the same. We are going to take it one game, one possession at a time,” Kohler said. “We are aiming to win a championship and will do whatever it takes to put us in that position.”
Whether the Raiders made a championship run or not, Kohler learned many things throughout his time at GRCC that will assist him for the rest of his life. The biggest trait he learned according to Fox is his leadership along with work ethic.
“The way he goes about his business is the best thing he does for the team,” Fox said. “College basketball requires a lot of time and effort, and Brockton has always put the team first.”
After the basketball season and the spring semester are over, Kohler is committed to continuing his academic and athletic career at Cleary University, a private university located in Howell, MI. He has a few goals for his time at Cleary and is also excited to get the opportunity to continue his career.
“My basketball goals after GRCC are to win a championship at Cleary University while also building a legacy program,” Kohler said. “We have something special brewing and I am very excited to be a part of it.”
Before he leaves GRCC, Kohler has reflected on the biggest lesson he has learned from being on the basketball team.
“The biggest thing I have learned in my time at GRCC is that everyone has their own story and their own path,” Kohler said. “I did not take the most conventional route, but this is exactly how my life was supposed to turn out. I’ve matured and I am beyond ready for my next chapter. And I have GRCC to thank for that.”