In this series, we will be meeting the new additions to Scorers 1st who recently finished their respective college careers and now prepare to make the jump from college to the pros.
A natural born leader and versatile guard, C.J. Cooper (player profile, available 2015-16 season) leaves UTEP ranked third in school history in three-point field goals (158) and 10th in assists (275), while averaging 8.1 points, 3.2 assists and 1.8 rebounds per game during a season where the Miners advanced to the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) and the 6-foot, 190 pound Cooper finished with a first-round game-high 16 points against Murray State.
Give us the scouting report on C.J. Cooper. How would you best describe yourself as a player? The best way to describe myself as a player is someone who can lead a team and make plays. I am a player that will come up with many plays to help my team win. Whether it is setting up my teammates to get shots or scoring when it is needed, I am use to having the ball in my hands being the point guard but I am also very comfortable moving to the off guard and making plays at that position. I am good defensively knowing how to keep my man in front of me and getting stops. I am confident that I will help my team and deliver with whatever they need me for.
Looking back on your college career at UTEP, what do you appreciate the most about that experience? Looking back at my career at UTEP I really appreciate all of the love and support that I received from the fans and the community. UTEP is known for its historic basketball program and being apart of it was a really great experience. I also appreciate the coaching staff at UTEP and all of the hard work they put it. Coach (Tim) Floyd is one of the best coaches in the country and being apart of the team and his coaching staff for four years was one of the best experiences and I learned many things on and off the court to help me succeed.
What goal/goals have you set as you consider your first year playing professionally?
Some goals that I have set for my first year playing professionally is to show everyone that I am the one of the best players in the league and I am the player I am fully capable of being. At UTEP we had a talented team and many talented players some that are going to be pros, so everything as far as scoring was balanced. I do not feel like my stats really showed the type of player that I really am and what I can do, so that is one thing that I want to show everyone. Another goal and the most important is to lead my team to a championship.
Can you break down your offseason training schedule and routine? My offseason training is something that I take seriously. I workout 5-6 days out of the week and go 2 or 3 times a day. I start off my morning with conditioning and weight lifting. From there I go in the gym and work on ball handing for about an hour then go on with shooting. I do various types of shooting from spot up to coming off screens.
In your life, who has helped influence you as a person/player and what words of advice have they shared? I’ve had many people influence me in my life and a person and a player. I would start off by saying my parents. They are the ones who have always been there for me and helped me through everything. Then I would go to my Uncle Eric who has helped me with basketball from when I started playing at 5 years old and got me to be the player that I am today. He always had me in the gym and would always tell me he is going to make me into a pro if I want to put the work in. He was my coach all throughout AAU to High School. Another influence is Coach Floyd who I have been with for the last 4 years. I learned a lot from him not just on the court but off the court as well.
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