Most nights, Josh Kashila isn’t the first option for the Euless Trinity boys basketball team. In fact, he’s usually not the second option. Filling that kind of role can be challenging, but given the challenges he’s already overcome just to be a significant contributor on this team, you probably won’t hear him complain much about it.
Kashila was born in Indiana while his parents sought refuge from their war-torn home in Angola. The family returned to Africa, but some years later, economic hardship throughout the country spurred Kashila’s parents to make a difficult decision — to send Josh and his brothers back to the United States to finish their education. His parents couldn’t join them due to visa complications.
Heading into ninth grade, “I moved in with a cousin that I had only met once before,” Kashila explained.
Early in that school year his history teacher — who happened to be the school’s new basketball coach — asked Josh if he played basketball. Kashila lied.
He told the teacher he had played basketball, but the reality was he wanted to play basketball. His only real previous experience was watching in awe as his older brothers and friends played the sport on a rudimentary setup back in Angola. The goal was an old bicycle rim, and they used a rubber ball. Josh, who was told he was too young to play, admired his elder peers and was fascinated by watching them play.
It became evident in tryouts that Josh wasn’t as experienced as he led on, but the coach saw potential and gave him a spot on the team.
Now a senior, Kashila expects that basketball might be his ticket to further his education after high school. He’s worked diligently on his game, and Trojans coach Mark Villines thinks he can play at the next level.
“His strong suit has always been his athleticism. He’s really long and athletic. We knew if he could work on his game and develop a consistent jump shot and the ability to drive the basketball, the athleticism was there,” Villines said. “He’s a good player with a good skill package. His role on another team would probably be different from this team.”
This team has a prolific scorer in Jhivvan Jackson. Like most good scorers, Jackson commands the ball a lot of the time.
“When you do have such a prolific scorer that commands the ball so much, that’s got to be a challenge for anybody,” Villines said. “It’s hard sometimes for kids to get a rhythm or get a flow or feel like they’re doing anything productive with a guy like Jhivvan.”
“It can be challenging,” Kashila confessed. “I struggle with it a little bit, but the more we play, the better I’m fitting into the system. It’s hard sometimes not having the ball in your hands. I just try to get everyone involved and just play the game.”
Kashila has tried to hone other facets of his game to become more complete as a player.
“Josh is at his best when he’s scoring the basketball, there’s no doubt about it,” Villines said. “But if it’s not his night — and as a player, you know — we’ve just been encouraging him, because he has so many other tools and skills — that if his shot isn’t falling, to use some of those tools to your advantage. Go get some steals, go get some rebounds.”
“When it’s not my night, I just try to do everything else. When I know my shots aren’t falling, I try to turn my defense into offense. It’s not all about scoring,” Kashila said. “It can be frustrating at times as a player because I know the amount of work I put in, and when it doesn’t show on the court it can be frustrating. But I don’t let those things get to me. Jhivvan is a great scorer and as long as we’re winning, that’s all that matters.”
His time as a Trojan is nearing its end, but Kashila hopes his time on the court is not.
“He’s in the gym all the time. He’s up there putting in shots,” Villines said, pointing out that even though he gave the team time off this past weekend, Kashila was in the gym working.
Kashila hopes to pursue a degree in business, and if he continues to improve as quickly as he has on the basketball court, the game he started playing less than four years ago might be his ticket to do so.
“I’ve progressed throughout the years,” he said. “I try to learn as much as possible. It’s been a great learning experience and I just can’t wait for the next level.”