Posted On: 10/3/19 3:49 PM
In high school basketball, finding player who will accept a specific role and work each day towards perfecting that role is rare. Especially when that role doesn’t consist of being a top scorer. For 2021 guard Matt Cooper, impacting the game in ways that don’t show up on the box score is what made him so valuable to the team. Cooper was sidelined with an ankle injury that kept him out the second half of the season, and that was when you began to see what he did for the team come to the forefront.
“I think I do a pretty good job being the gel guy for this team,” Cooper told Prep Hoops. “I do all of the little things. Last year, we had some dominant scorers, so I knew my role and I thought I did a pretty good job at producing in my role.”
One dominant scorer from last year’s team was Jalen Rucker (Army). Now that Rucker is gone, it means that everyone else will have to accept more responsibility to fill the void. That goes for Cooper as well.
“I think this year I need to be a little more of a scorer,” Cooper said. “Just simply because we don’t have as many dominant scorers as last year. I think I need to help Christian [Winborne] and Malik [Missouri] and all of the other guys out by putting some points up on the scoreboard along with everything else.”
Cooper has been preparing to take on more of a scoring presence with Maryland 3D this past spring and summer.
“I learned how to create for myself,” Cooper continued, “because I was one of the primary scorers on the team. I had to learn how to get my own shot up and stuff like that. Coach Bartz tells me all the time that I need to be more assertive as a player and as a scorer because a lot of times I just want to get the ball to other guys. I think this summer really helped me work on being more of a scorer.”
Cooper has caught the interest of some Division II and Division III programs thus far. If he displays the ability to score consistently, the 6-foot-1 guard should see that interest become more aggressive.
How does Cooper describe his own game?
“A lot of coaches that have coached me will probably tell you that I’m the guy who does everything that won’t necessarily show up on the stat sheet,” Cooper said. “I like to be a good teammate. That’s something I hang my hat on. A lot of the guys who play with me enjoy me as a teammate and I take a lot of pride in that.”