The Auburn commit has been reminding the country who he is. After numerous scoring outbursts over the past weekend, Sharife Cooper is showing us what he’ll be able to provide for the Tigers when he arrives to the school next year.
The senior is a 5’10 Point Guard with much athleticism and has much quickness to blow by defenders. When he brings the ball up the floor, he knows how to control the pace of the game as he runs the floor and can either create his own opportunity or facilitate and get his teammates involved. His play throughout this season is the reason why the McEachern Indians have a 6-0 record to start the season and they’re only gonna get better every game they play.
Over his high school career, Cooper has not only improved on his individual craft, but his leadership on the floor seems to be what makes him proud the most. “I’m just maturing and getting stronger” Cooper said during an interview. Through the years of playing High School and AAU with some fierce competition, Cooper has learned from each experience that was given and it has given him the opportunity to learn how to be a great basketball player in many ways.
Over the past week, Cooper scored 44 points in an 87-79 Thanksgiving shootout against senior guard Josh Christopher’s Mayfair Monsoons. Although Mayfair made a late run in the 4th quarter to cut the lead close, Cooper was able to close the game in the final minutes for his team to cap off the tournament with a win.
The next night, after being full of adrenaline off a 44 point night, Cooper topped his performance yet again scoring 52 points in a 99-75 victory over Windsor Forest. From the start of the tip, Cooper was in attack mode early and never let his foot of the gas. His back to back performances are more likely the most impressive that have been made from a high school player this season.
The question now is who’s game does Sharife Cooper favor the most? The only correct answer to this question is Brooklyn Nets Guard Kyrie Irving. Both of these point guards can handle the ball at a very high rate while being high volume scorers who can create their own shot at any given moment. Cooper has shown throughout his high school career that he is capable of being a high volumed scoring machine and that can hopefully carry over once he moves forward with basketball.
The challenge for Cooper once he transitions to the college level is to potentially put on more weight. Being 160 pounds the way this kid loves to penetrate to the basket, that might be an easy opportunity for big men around the rim to get into his body and push him around inside. Don’t knock him because of his weight though because Cooper has always shown tremendous body control for some time now, but possibly adding a traditional 10-15 pounds would benefit a possible injury when he begins his college career.
Auburn got a steal when this kid decided to commit to their school. Head Coach Bruce Pearl is now adding an additional piece who can put the ball in the basket. After making his decision, Cooper seemed very excited about starting his new chapter with a great organization. “It was like a feeling I couldn’t shake” Cooper stated in an interview after the decision. “The team, the city, the alumnus all embraced me.”
Looking into next season, Pearl just may make Cooper his first scoring option for the team and the offense will run through him. With the success Auburn has had the past couple seasons, adding Cooper to the roster will just elevate their play and could potentially help them make it far once again in the NCAA Tournament.
If Cooper is not everyone’s best player in the nation, he should be one of them. This kid has much potential to become an all-around great NBA player and he improves his game year after year. After two successful games in the Thanksgiving Tournament, we hope to see both Cooper and McEachern continue to dominate the floor which will potentially put them as the top basketball team in all of Georgia. After reading this, make sure to keep Cooper on the radar as we will watch him dominate the college game and hopefully watch him have a bright NBA future.