Articles

D.J. Cooper

PG Ohio
5’11” 175 lbs 12/6/90

 

 

 

 

14.1 PPG        7.1 APG          3.2 RPG          2.0 SPG           42.4 FG%       36.4 3P%

 

 

 

Overview: Cooper is a quick, small point guard that paced the Bobcats each of the past four seasons. What he lacks in size, he makes up for in toughness; Cooper competes hard on every possession of every game. He's a very good defensive player which will help him moving forward, even when he's matched up against bigger, stronger NBA players. He will likely go undrafted as there's a huge group of second round caliber point guards that are superior prospects to Cooper, but he may make strides in the Summer League or during training camp.

 

Offensively, Cooper is a typical point guard. He really likes to slash and penetrate into the lane in order to create offense for his team. He has very good ball handling skills, which when coupled with his quick first step make it tough to stay in front of him defensively. He is a lefty but attack with either hand which makes it harder to defend him. His jumpshot is a work in progress, as he's been a streaky shooter during his time in college. His release and mechanics are sound but consistency has tended to elude him at Ohio. During stretches though where he heats up, it's apparent he has what it takes to be a good shooter. Failing to find a consistent jumper could really hurt his chances at sticking in the NBA. He's a very good pick and roll point guard who is developing a solid floater in the lane, which is essential for a guard his size to master. Usually when he gets past his defender and into the lane, he looks to distribute for his teammates. He's a good creator but he has a tendency to turn the ball over at times if he's trying too hard to force the issue. His assist totals shot up by more than 1.5 assists per game from last season. He also thrives in a quick, uptempo system because it fits his own style, but at times he can struggle with playing a slower, conservative offensive pace. At Ohio, as the point guard, he controlled the ball a lot for his team, and therefore didn't develop much of an off the ball game. While point guards typically control the ball in the NBA as well, if one of his teammates tries to isolate, he may not serve much value as a player who doesn't move a ton without the ball and isn't a great shooter. Cooper's offensive game has continued to improve every season he's been at Ohio, which is promising. That said, even though he can slash, is unselfish, and goes through spurts where he can stick the jumper, this facet of his game has a long way to go.

 

Defensively, Cooper has been very good. Despite being small, he has a 6'5" wingspan which has really helped him disrupt passing lanes and contest shots of taller matchups. He plays an intense style of defense and puts heavy pressure on the opposing ball handler. He's able to force turnovers as evidenced in part by his 2 steals per game this season. His relentless defense makes him an attractive prospect to professional teams more than any other facet of his game. That said, he didn't play much against any top level point guards this past season which make any workouts he can attain that much more crucial. He's a good off ball defender as well; he positions himself well and doesn't get himself beat with poor decision making. Moving forward to the NBA level, the main concern is whether or not he'll be able to maintain his defensive prowess against bigger, stronger point guards.

 

Overall, Cooper may have some value if a team is looking for a defensive minded point guard in the second round and Peyton Siva is already off the board. He is a very good passer which will help his case with teams looking for traditional point guards. That said, his offensive game isn't great and he still isn't much of a scoring threat overall. His size will also scare some teams away; even for the point guard position, he's quite small. He's a tough, smart, high character player who may very well make a great impression during the summer league or training camps, but it's unlikely at the moment that he gets drafted.

 

 

 

Key Strengths:

 

·      Cooper is a very good defensive player. He gives full effort on that side of the ball and it shows.

 

·      His lefty floater in the lane over taller defenders has gotten significantly better during his career.

 

·      He has a quick first step and stays low to the ground when he looks to attack to dribble. He also knows how to best use his small frame to be effective on the drive.

 

·      Cooper is a very good passing guard. He has good court vision.

 

Areas to Improve:

 

·      There isn't much improving that can be done, but he's certainly undersized.

 

·      Another area that can't be improved upon, but he didn't face any real top level point guard talent this past season.

 

·      Cooper isn't much of an offensive threat at all. His shot is erratic and he has trouble scoring, even in a smaller conference.

 

·      He can force turnovers if he's trying to play at a faster pace than the rest of his team is attempting to.