Talihina’s Kobe Billy – Athlete Spotlight Presented by Pine Cellular

Written by Nick Hampton

Photo by Holly Cooper Photography

He’s the strong, silent type. But in his fourth year as a starter, there’s no doubt that Kobe Billy is getting the job done on the court for the Golden Tigers.

“He’s a good, hard worker who’s pretty quiet but sets a great example of work ethic for those around him,” said his coach Taggart Lockhart. “He’s struggled with his shot a little this year but he’s still averaging around 10 points a game and his defense is great as he usually ends on the other guy’s best player, particularly if he’s a guard.”

The senior point guard has an older brother, Darian Jefferson, who played at Broken Bow before the family moved to Talihina and he’s always looked up to him.

“He’s really the main focus of why I play basketball,” said Billy.

Two years ago the Tigers made it to the state tournament and Billy thinks back to that year for his highlight as a basketball player. After losing to top-ranked Wright City in the first round at area, the Tigers played Savanna in the consolation finals.

“That was kind of a breakout game for me. I had 26 points and made a steal and hit a free throw at the end of the game to seal the win,” remembered Billy.

A team mate of his on that team is another player that Kobe says has influenced his playing style.

“Karim Byrd was on that team and he and I have been good friends since the eighth grade. I always admired how hard he worked in the games and that’s how I like to play.”

Though basketball has always been his main love, Kobe tried his hand at football for the first time this year.

“Coach (Kelly) Gravitt kind of talked me into playing and so I worked out a lot and bulked up some this past summer and played receiver and corner back. We didn’t win any games but I had a lot of fun and it just seemed like something I wanted try,” recalled Billy.

The Tigers are 11-4 at this writing with most of their losses coming to teams that are in the top 10 of their respective classes so Lockhart is optimistic about what lies ahead.

“We’ve played a pretty tough schedule so far and have done all right and I think we’re just now getting to where we want to be to make a playoff run,” said Lockhart.

The coach’s statement would seem to ring true with Talihina’s upset win over third-ranked Howe, a team that beat them by 30 earlier in the season, to win the LeFlore County Tournament.

Upon graduation, Kobe Billy plans to attend Southeastern State.