2 - Sharife Cooper

6-1, 180 Point Guard
Auburn Freshman
Birthday
06/11/01 (20.3 yrs)
Hometown
Powder Springs, GA
High School
McEachern
Team Site Profile
Athleticism
7
Size
6
Defense
6
Strength
7
Quickness
9
Leadership
8
Jump Shot
7
NBA Ready
8
Ball Handling
8
Potential
8
Passing
8
Intangibles
7

NBA Comparison; Sebastian Telfair/Yogi Ferrell

Strengths: A highly talented, creative lead guard prospect who excels as a playmaker with the ball in his hands … A true maestro as a floor general with the type of blow-by quickness, ball-handling ability and speed you’d expect from a diminutive PG, Cooper has consistently shown outstanding passing instincts, unselfishness and vision throughout his amateur career … Doesn’t take him long at all to find the open man and, like many other great playmakers before him, his eyes are always up and never looking at the floor … Plays with great anticipation skills, often seeing and making plays before they unfold or the defense has time to react … Very good at subtly looking off defenders and tilting the defense one way, and then going another way with the ball … Was a high usage player who assisted on 52% of Auburn’s scoring when he was on the court as a Fr. (8.1 APG), which is outstanding, and creates a ton of open jump shots and lobs at the rim … Reads help defense very well and delivers accurate, needle-threading passes even against hard hedges from bigs … Occupies double teams and traps by keeping his dribble alive and patiently finding open players … Equally effective passing, slashing and finishing with his left hand as he is with his right … Simply makes everyone’s job easier with the ball in his hands, whether making well timed full-court passes in transition before the defense is set, as a ball-handler in the pick and roll or finding and rewarding cutting teammates for easy scores … Routinely leads teammates in stride with his passes, especially in pick and roll situations, and truly has uncanny timing and court awareness … Has no problem getting into the teeth of the defense with his quick 1st step, and also shows a good command of hesitation moves and crossovers, switching up his pace to lull defenders when necessary … Shows nice footwork in the lane, and the groundwork is there for him to keep improving his in-between game, because he shows flashes of floaters, up-and-unders, and teardrops in his repertoire that will be necessary considering his lack of size … Was a 20 ppg scorer as a Fr., largely out of necessity but you still cant overlook his willingness to score, his adequate finishing ability (for his size) and ability to take advantage of the defense worrying about him driving to dish … The amount of pressure he applies when driving and his surprising willingness to put up shots through contact is heavily reflected in his high FTA rate (8.6 per game), and he converted on a very nice 82% of those attempts, hinting that he has decent shooting touch … Has a great understanding of angles and seeks out contact on his drives, while usually being under control and not getting many offensive fouls…Plays with good energy and has been known to be a student of the game and solid leader … Would not be hard to see Cooper excel in a high octane offensive system that likes to get out an run, has a quiet flair and excitement to his style of play that could easily lead to him being a fan favorite …

Weaknesses: Generously listed at 6’1 165, and without much of a frame, vertical athleticism or wingspan to play bigger and taller than he is, Cooper’s diminutive size is a hurdle that will ultimately limit his efficiency as a player at the next level … As stated, he was extremely effective getting into the paint whether with the help of a screen or using his quickness, but he was a subpar finisher amongst the trees once at the rim and struggled against some of the teams with NBA-sized frontline athletes (ie Kentucky and Baylor) … Saw a good amount of his shots around the hoop get blocked when he didn’t draw a foul; and without explosive leaping ability its hard to envision this improving with a step up against NBA competition, making the continued development of his in-between game paramount … While he is clearly a standout and high usage floor general, his turnovers need to be cut down some as well (4 TOPG, 18 per 100 possessions) and he sees a lot of his passes get deflected due to his size but also just occasionally getting ahead of himself forcing passes, whether due to confidence in his ability or pressing the issue because Auburn was struggling down the stretch … His shooting, both spotting up and working off the bounce, is a work in progress as well (22.8% on nearly 5 3PA/game); he has a hitched up, inconsistent form with little elevation and a noticeable backwards lean that led to some ugly misses and doesn’t project to be very effective against closeouts and contests from NBA players … Smaller guards usually have to be much more precise with everything in the NBA to overcome their lack of size, and the time it takes for him to step into his shots plays into bigger, more athletic defenders’ hands … Has OK natural shooting touch and sporadically made defenders pay for diving screens, but not nearly enough and teams will try make him prove he can hit jumpers to slow down the threat of his PnR game … Does not offer much defensively other than occasionally as a pest applying on-ball pressure, and will need to be “masked” often by a good defensive scheme or a bigger bodied back court mate to not be a liability on this end … Has the types of problems you’d associate with smaller guards on this end (can be posted up, washed out of plays by screens, shot over and posted up with ease, gets steamrolled to the basket by bigger ball handlers etc) … Also didn’t do himself favors with effort, fundamentals and defensive focus, as he struggled with containing simple dribble drives, off-ball awareness, getting back into plays after getting beat and sometimes fouling jump shooters as well … Pretty ball-dominant player, and though this is only a minor issue for a PG prospect, he is not likely to make an impact when he doesn’t have the ball and usually can been seen with his feet nailed to the 3 point line …

Overall: Cooper’s Fr. season was highly anticipated after a decorated HS career in GA, especially after he had to sit out multiple games before the NCAA granted him eligibility … Came in and immediately was an impact player in the SEC, hitting the ground running by lighting up the scoreboard on a young Auburn team and showing why he was a ballyhooed recruit with his excellent floor general skills … He had to carry the load for a 13-12 Auburn team, and the results were there offensively as Cooper had his fingerprints on what was a high octane attack (83 ppg in Cooper’s 12 games) with the run-and-shoot style Coach Bruce Pearl prefers to play … His lack of size and some of the limitations that come with it, especially defensively, will likely polarize and make some teams paused on him, but he has some of the characteristics (anticipatory passing, basketball instincts and understanding of timing and angles as a finisher) of smaller players who overcame the odds and have gone on to have success as pros …

Notes: Signed with an agent following the 2020-21 season effectively ending his college career … Projected as a late first to early second round pick for the 2021 NBA Draft … Turns 20 on June 11th …

Jorrye Nixon 5/4/21

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