Auburn freshman Sharife Cooper looks impressive in debut during loss to Alabama | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Saturday / January 16.
  • Auburn freshman Sharife Cooper looks impressive in debut during loss to Alabama

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    BY: JAMES SZUBA & ADAM ZAGORIA

    After missing nearly two months of the season due to NCAA eligibility issues, Auburn freshman point guard Sharife Cooper looked impressive in his season debut on Saturday.

    The 6-foot-1 Newark, N.J. native went for 26 points, 9 assists and 4 rebounds in a 94-90 loss to the Crimson Tide (9-3, 4-0). Auburn fell to 6-6, 0-4.

    “It’s been a long time since I’ve played a game,” Cooper said. “So, the first couple minutes I knew I was going to be a little rusty, I hadn’t played in a long time so I didn’t want to force nothing. I just wanted to get the feeling, get the feeling of pick and roll, get the feel of their defense, get the feel of our offense.”

    Cooper, a five-star recruit in the class of 2020 and a projected one-and-done for the 2021 NBA Draft, was declared eligible by the NCAA ahead of Saturday’s game, as first reported by Adam Zagoria. He was previously sidelined due to eligibility concerns.

    “You could tell how hard Sharife’s worked to stay right and stay ready, you know, what a dynamic player he is,” coach Bruce Pearl said. “We obviously have been working to try to build the program around him the last couple years knowing he would be coming in, and so it’s great to have him back.”

    Cooper was held out of practice for 72 days beginning in October, per al.com. He is the highest-rated player to suit up for Auburn. As a high school senior he averaged 30.6 points, 7.8 assists and 3.6 steals per game.

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