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Meeting the BobKats hailing from Kokomo

Three former Howard County high school players make the team

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The city's new professional basketball team has added some local faces, sure to excite the Kokomo fans who have seen them play in Memorial Gym in the past.

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MARCELLE KENNER — Marcelle Kenner is a 2016 Kokomo High School graduate. He played in 63 games as a Wildkat. He scored 413 points, a 6.6 points per game average. Kenner started 40 games in his career. He made 174 of his 313 attempts from the field, 55.6 percent. He had 234 rebounds, 29 assists, and 29 steals. His best year was his junior campaign when he shot 56.8 percent from the field, averaging 8.5 points per game and 5.4 rebounds. Kenner's career best in scoring was 21 points against South Bend Riley during his junior year when he was 8-for-11 from the field and 5-for-5 from the line. Kenner was fourth in the NCC in field goal percentage as a senior.

Kokomo High School's Marcelle Kenner and Armon Bridgeforth made the cut, returning to their home gym for the first time since their high school years. Kenner spoke on the excitement in playing for a two-time NBA Champion as his head coach.

"Coach Levingston could give away 90 percent of his basketball knowledge and still know more than me. So just to be around him and pick his brain as much as I can and try pick up on the nuances of basketball, it's just a blessing," Kenner said.

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PEYTON JOHNSON — Peyton Johnson is a 2018 Taylor High School graduate, where he averaged 18.6 points per game, along with 4.1 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1.8 steals in three years. Johnson notched several 20-point games in his high school years as a basketball player and was impactful on the football field as well. Johnson was a marksman for the Titans, including notching eight three-pointers versus Rochester in 2017. On August 11, 2017, Johnson scored four touchdowns and had three interceptions on the football field against North White for the Titans. He was a scorer and facilitator on the floor.

For former Taylor Titan Peyton Johnson, one word encapsulated the surreal experience of playing on a professional team in his own hometown.

"It's kind of electrifying. It's something that surprises me a lot because if I was going to have a fulfilling basketball career, I never thought it would be here in Kokomo at all," Johnson said. "The fact that Kokomo's doing this, it electrifies me. It gives me chills."

Both Kenner and Johnson said they're adjusting to the pace of the The Basketball League (TBL). Everyone is faster, stronger, longer than they were in high school, so they have to bring it every day to have an impact on their team.

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ARMON BRIDGEFORTH — Armon Bridgeforth is a 2012 graduate of Kokomo High School. He played in 79 games in his four years at KHS, including six games as a freshman. Bridgeforth had 52 starts in his career. He shot 45.5 percent (160-352) from the field with his best shooting year coming as a junior when he hit 50.4 percent (65-129). He totaled 432 points for a 5.5 points per game average in his four years. He added 248 rebounds, 140 assists, and 147 steals in his career. He was the 2012 Defensive Player of the Year for Coach Brian McCauley's Kats. He was Second Team All-North Central Conference as a senior and the Wildkats Defensive Player of the Year as a junior.

For Bridgeforth, who always has emphasized defense, he's eager to continue to do so and step his game up to the next level.

"The coaches talked with me from the last game, and yeah, they were more impressed with my defense. That's always going to be my strong hand. I plan on bringing the defensive side every game and getting the team involved in that way," Bridgeforth said.

All three players have high expectations for the season.

Levingston has spoken frequently about being in the finals or winning the chip quickly, and his players have followed suit by pinning that goal to the board and not being satisfied until they get there.

The locals all praised the group the BobKats has, from the coaches to each and every player. It's a special group that can do great things in just their first year, they said.

"I love this group of guys. They're all fun, and we all get along pretty well. You know, the chemistry is going to get better as the season goes along. But it's a great group of guys, got a great coaching staff as well. We're really excited," Bridgeforth said. "Coach said before we even had a team that he thinks we can win the chip this year, and we all feel that way as well,"

The BobKats' season opener is April 9 at 7:05 p.m. at Memorial Gym downtown.