Cooper was named the MVP of the Reese's Division I All-Star Game in April (photo courtesy of Jeremy Guy).
June 27, 2013
An Elite Vision: Cooper and the NBA Draft Process Feature Story
ATHENS, Ohio - Former Ohio University men's basketball guard D.J. Cooper begins his quest to play in the NBA tonight when the 2013 NBA Draft tips off at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. Draft coverage begins at 7 p.m. on ESPN.
Since playing his final game with the Bobcats in March, Cooper has traveled across the country to participate in post-collegiate exhibition contests, meet with NBA teams and participate in pre-draft workouts.
He is projected to be chosen as a second round pick or go undrafted.
Here's a summary of Cooper's cross-country trek since the 2012-13 season came to a close.
Reese's All-Star Game
The Chicago, Ill., native's journey began during the NCAA Final Four weekend, when Cooper turned heads in a dominant performance at the Reese's Division I College All-Star Game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga.
The 2013 MAC Player of the Year was named the MVP of the contest after dazzling the competition with a game-high nine assists. Cooper added 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting while leading the East All-Stars to an 87-81 victory. The East was +23 in scoring margin during Cooper's time on the floor.
From there, Cooper participated in the prestigious Portsmouth Invitational in Portsmouth, Va. The four-day camp featured 64 of the nation's top college basketball seniors in an eight-team, four-day tournament format. Scouts and front office staff from a number of NBA teams were on hand throughout the event.
Cooper averaged 11.7 points, 7.3 assists, 5.7 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game in three contests with his team, Norfolk Sports Club. Cooper tied for first among all competitors with 22 assists and ranked fourth in assist/turnover ratio (3.1).
He also was third amongst all participants with nine 3-pointers made and shot 39.1 percent from beyond the arc for the tournament.
His best game came on Saturday (April 13), when the senior just missed out on recording a triple-double. In 35 minutes on the floor, Cooper posted 20 points (6-10 3pt FG), distributed a game-high 10 assists and added eight rebounds while leading Norfolk Sports Club to a 94-65 win over Portsmouth Sports Club.
Pre-NBA Draft Workouts
Throughout May and June, Cooper participated in pre-draft workouts with five teams, including the Portland Trail Blazers, Golden State Warriors, Washington Wizards, Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers.
Cooper was impressive in his workouts and NBA pundits took notice.
Originally outside of Chad Ford's top-100 NBA Draft prospects, Cooper moved up to No. 60 in last week's rankings and sits No. 49 in Ford's pre-draft rankings as of Thursday morning.
"[Cooper is] a sleeper. Has worked out really well," Ford wrote in an ESPN.com chat this week. "Some teams have him ranked highly on their analytics scores. Interesting prospect as a second round pick."
Cooper also is ranked No. 49 by the publication, Inside the Green Room.
"Every time I step into an NBA practice facility, I realize that I have a chance to prove that I belong and that size doesn't matter," Cooper told OhioBobcats.com this week. "You just have to make sure you're in great shape and that you compete well. I feel like that'll get me drafted."
Where The Teams Pick
Here's a guide to where each of the teams Cooper has worked out for will pick during Thursday's NBA Draft (subject to change due to draft day trades):
No. 1 (First Round)
No. 19 (First Round)
No. 31 (Second Round)
No. 33 (Second Round)
Golden State Warriors
No. 2 (First Round)
No. 51 (Second Round)
Portland Trail Blazers
No. 10 (First Round)
No. 39 (Second Round)
No. 40 (Second Round)
No. 45 (Second Round)
No. 3 (First Round)
No. 38 (Second Round)
No. 54 (Second Round)