Notre Dame Fighting Irish Senior Power Forward #45
6' 9" 246 Pounds 21 Years Old From: Glenview, IL
Overview: While playing with an unassuming body frame, Cooley has quietly become one of the most productive players in the NCAA this season. He is one of the most efficient rebounders in the NCAA, not just this year but in the last 5 years. Cooley is nearly 3 rebounds per game ahead of the next most productive rebounder in the Big East this season and he is 5th in the country in rebounds per game. Cooley is one of the most physical players in the country and his bullish playing style makes him a threat for a double-double every time he takes the court.
Offensively, Cooley makes his mark from the low block. Cooley is a very effective post up player who can catch from the block. His go-to move is a right handed baby hook from the left block. Cooley doesn't shy away from contact when he shoots; he actually seeks out contact and he attempts 5.2 free throws per game. Cooley takes smart, high percentage shots, as evidenced by his high shooting percentage from the floor. Cooley's post game has value to his teammates as well, this season, Cooley has been receiving double teams in the post upon his catch. He needs to be a bit quicker with his passing once doubled, but he's unselfish in the post and that often leads to quality looks for his teammates. Cooley cuts well from the high post and is a really good on ball screener. After he sets the screen, he has high IQ timing and awareness which leads to him making the correct decision between rolling, popping, and slipping into the lane post screen. As stated before, Cooley is an elite rebounder who can create extra possessions for his team every game which is a huge asset for Notre Dame in the Big East where there are a lot of down to the wire games where extra possessions are huge.
Cooley does have his limits offensively. He doesn't have much of a face up game. Cooley's midrange jumper could use some work and he has a very slow release. Cooley is often the last guy up the court when his team tries to play up and down in transition, which negates his post skills. Cooley does a good job of realizing his offensive shortcomings and doesn't force the issue offensively by playing outside of his comfort zone.
Defensively, Cooley is a bull. He is an extremely physical defender who doesn't get beaten with power moves very often. In the post he keeps a low stance, which helps him force his matchup away from the hoop. He is an active defender who does a good job of initially denying his man the ball in the post. Cooley also does a good job playing off-ball, help defense for the Irish. Cooley is a tremendous position rebounder; when shots go up, he looks for a position and a man to box out instantly. However, he has multiple physical shortcomings. Cooley struggles with defending quicker offensive players. Players with quicker, speed moves in the post can often get around Cooley. He is undersized for his position; he can make up for some of this with his hard work and intelligent positioning, but it sometimes hurts him anyways. Cooley lacks athleticism; his lack of lateral quickness can be exploited by bringing him away from the hoop on a pick and roll and turning the corner around him before he can hedge on the screen. His lack of ideal size and athleticism project him to be a below average defender at the next level.
Cooley has been one of the most productive players in the NCAA this season with his rebounding ability for the Fighting Irish. He has consistently drawn comparisons to another recent Notre Dame Power Forward, Luke Harangody due to his physical limitations. While these comparisons are flattering for his NCAA productivity, they aren't promising for his professional prospects. Cooley's skill set and lack of speed likely won't fit in well with a sped up, small ball version of the NBA.
· Cooley is one of the best rebounders in the country. Cooley leads the Big East in rebounds per game by nearly 3 whole boards. He leads the country in rebounds per minute this year.
· Cooley is a bull in the post, both offensively and defensively. He is a pure strength player who can use his size to get to the hoop and prevent his matchup from powering through to the rim.
· He screens well and is a high IQ basketball player who understands where his positioning needs to be in order to mask his physical limitations.
· Cooley has improved immensely in the last two years and has an outside shot at being named the Big East Player of the Year.
Areas to Improve:
· Unfortunately, he can't really improve upon his size; he is extremely undersized. Bigger offensive and defensive players can give him fits when he's matched up with him.
· His athleticism leaves a ton to be desired. Cooley is not quick which hurts him when quicker offensive players initially beat him. Cooley struggles to play an up tempo pace, often not getting down the court when the Irish run in transition or try and get back to prevent fast breaks.
· Offensively, he has a mediocre jumpshot outside of the post. Cooley isn't consistent from the midrange areas on the court; he also has a slow release which means he doesn't get many shots off against quicker or bigger defenders.