One of the Most Talented Junior Bowlers You May or May Not Know – Andrew Koff

With Junior Gold just around the corner, I thought it would be interesting to talk a little about someone that some kids — today’s generation — may or may not know.

When I was in the shop last week, getting balls ready for some youth bowlers about to head to Junior Gold, I was asked who the best youth bowler I had ever seen was. And before I say my answer, please understand that this is just my answer, and that there are many, MANY good choices – Chris Loschetter, Matt O’Grady, PJ Haggerty, Marshall Kent, Kamron Doyle, Greg Young and some others come to mind – but, to me, one stands out above all else: Andrew Koff.

I told them my answer, and they instantly said “who?”

I was dumbfounded. Truly. But then I remembered their age, and I remembered that Andrew was likely already done bowling by the time that they began their competitive youth careers. So I told them again: Andrew Koff.

They said they’d never heard of him.

For those of you that know who Andrew is, know that shortly after his youth career ended, he decided to focus solely on school and his career. And for those of you wondering, no surprise, he excelled there as well. This comes as no shock to any of us that knew him well, as he was just as intelligent as he was talented.

But when it came to bowling, when it came to on-the-lane talent, to me, it wasn’t close.

Also, please remember that he was bowling youth the exact same time as guys like Marshall Kent, EJ Tackett, Gary Faulkner, Cameron Weir, Matt Gasn, Kamron Doyle, Greg Young, Wesley Low, and Michael Coffey (in their younger years), Kyle King, Chris Via, Zack Hattori, AJ Johnson, the Tang brothers and many, many other talented players.

In my opinion, it was one of the highpoints of youth bowling. And still, above any and all else, he shined.

I bowled youth the exact same time as Andrew, and we both grew up bowling the same events throughout Florida. And he was physically superior to all of us. And there were a lot of us – Florida was a hotbed for youth talent at that time – that considered ourselves to be pretty solid players. And compared to most, we were pretty darn good, honestly. But compared to Koff, it just wasn’t close.

Before I go any further, if you haven’t watched him before, please go to YouTube and check him out. You’ll be happy you did.

Matt Gasn, former Jr. Team USA member and collegiate stand out, once said if he could only sit around and watch one bowler bowl for the rest of his life, it’d be Koff. And that there isn’t really a close second.

And Gasn wasn’t just referring to youth bowlers, at the time; Gasn was referring to anyone: youth, amateur, or professional alike.

I remember bowling a Loschetter Tournament (which was one of the elite youth scratch events in the state of Florida at that time) once and Koff, myself, and future PBA stud, Gary Faulkner were on the same pair. It was game one, frame one or two of the tournament. Koff sent one of the most impressive messengers I had ever seen, and Gary turned to me and said “how are we supposed to beat that?”

And, sure, at the time, Gary was saying this in jest, but, also at the same time, there was some sincerity in what he said; Koff had a way of physically intimidating even the most talented of players.

Koff just could do things with a bowling ball at 15 years old that guys on tour today, in the prime of their careers, still can’t do. And honestly that isn’t an indictment of them or their talents, as they’re obviously uber talented themselves, but more of a glorification of Andrew’s skills.

Gasn and Gary weren’t the only superstars that were in awe of Koff’s abilities, though. Greg Young went as far as to call him his idol, saying that watching Andrew bowl as a kid is what pushed him to be the best he could be.

Current PBA superstar – and another one of the most dominant youth bowlers of our era – Marshall Kent once told me that Andrew was the single most physically gifted player he’d ever seen.

And, honestly, I don’t disagree with that.

We all grew up bowling with/against that one youth bowler that was light-years ahead of the field. In honor of Junior Gold, tell us who the best junior bowler of your era was in the comment section below!

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