By Mike Beas
Whether or not Kobe Ward eventually establishes himself as a successful financial planner in his adult life remains to be seen.
On the basketball court, the Danville senior’s value continues to trend upward.
Ward, a 6-foot-2-inch forward who is intrigued with the stock market and might ultimately steer his career in that direction has been an integral part of the Warriors success since the start of the 2017-2018 season. This includes a pair of 22-win seasons, two Class 3A sectional titles and the third regional crown in program history.
Danville entered this season with a 59-18 record during Ward’s career. He split time between junior varsity and varsity as a freshman and sophomore before taking his talents to new levels last season, averaging 15.1 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game.
The Warriors dominated the Greencastle sectional, winning its three games by an average of 17.7 points, though the Greencastle regional would be wiped out due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ward carried the momentum into this season with a strong start, scoring 17 points and corralling nine rebounds in Danville’s 95-56 defeat of International.
Longtime Warriors coach Brian Barber appreciates the career Ward has pieced together to this point.
“Kobe is a four-year player for us. He has a quiet demeanor and is a guy who is about business,” said Barber. “He’s very positive, and everyone just sort of gravitates to him. He’s a positive teammate and a guy who wants to please his teammates and coaches.”
Ward also excels in track and field, competing in the 100- and 200-meter dash while also being counted on to anchor Danville’s 400 relay. He hopes to be able to play both sports in college, though that remains to be seen.
Ward did a Q&A with ICON:
Q: The obvious first question is were you named after Kobe Bryant?
A: Yeah, actually, I was. My brother (Devin) actually named me. It’s kind of unique, and there are a lot of nicknames you can make off of that. Especially when I was younger, I wore the No. 8 all of the time, and now I wear No. 24. My room is actually decorated with Kobe Bryant stuff.
Q: Now that you’re a senior, how do you describe your role, offensively and defensively, in the Danville basketball program?
A: It definitely starts with leadership. I like it, but there’s a new challenge every day. I try to lead more by example. On the court, I try to use my athleticism as much as I can. I’m more of a driver and score on putbacks a lot.
Q: What are your plans after graduating from Danville High School in the spring?
A: I’m not sure, but I definitely want to attend college somewhere. I’m undecided on a major, but am leaning toward a finance degree.