Another session, another dominant offensive showing from AOT's do-it-all point guard.
2018 Offensive POY Sharife Cooper picked up where he left off last year, and while it didn’t amount to AOT’s normal win tally, his production and efficiency were tops in the EYBL.
Cooper led the Running Rebels against a difficult opening session schedule, and quite simply, he needs to score early and often for AOT to remain competitive. It’s not easy to consistently put up big numbers when you’re accountable for the majority of the production, but Cooper did just that in Atlanta.
In four games, the McEachern (GA) product averaged 31.2 points, 51.2 FG%, 5.5 rebounds, 7.0 assists & 2.0 steals for AOT, turning the ball over 3.8 times per contest. That number may seem high, but it's much more understandable when you take into account how often Cooper has the ball in his hands. Paul Biancardi, ESPN's head of Basketball Recruiting, says that's part of what makes Cooper special.
"He’s so efficient for a guy that’s so targeted," Biancardi said of the defensive pressure Cooper consistently faces. "He’s a polarizing figure offensively for someone at his height."
Cooper's height and weight have proven to be a non-factor in terms of his production. Cooper is equally adept at getting to the basket as he is at filling it up from the perimeter, and his offensive repertoire is constantly evolving.
The 6-foot-2 junior is coming off a high school state championship during the 2018-19 high school season - and a No. 1 national ranking - Cooper's value has been set in stone.
"(Cooper) may be smaller in stature, but his heart is huge." said Biancardi. "His efficiency and numbers have always been strong."
AOT will need that production to continue as they look to get back into Peach Jam contention. A 1-3 start to the season wasn't in their plans after a 13-3 record in 2018, but if Cooper can continue his uptick in production, they should get back to their winning ways,