June 16, 2008

Flashes offer Chicago standout

With his first recruiting class in the books, new Kent State basketball coach Geno Ford already is hard at work on his second class. The Golden Flashes have several offers out, including one to D.J. Cooper, a 5-foot-11, 165-pound guard from Chicago, Ill.

Cooper, formerly of Hales Franciscan High School and now at Seton Academy, also holds an offer from Loyola-Chicago.

"Loyola offered me about two months ago," Cooper said. "I'm not sure when the Kent State offer came; my parents told me and my coach told me about it."

Apparently, Ford plans to use former Chicagoan and current KSU assistant Armon Gates to recruit the area.

"I know coach Gates is from Chicago, and (current KSU guard) Chris Singletary too," Cooper said. "I played against Chris, but I don't really know him."

Kent State has remained in close contact with Cooper.

"The coaches call me about once a month," he said. "I was at a game and I got a call from coach Gates. I called him back but I didn't get him. Next time I talk to them, my parents are going to talk about setting up a visit."

Already Cooper has made an unofficial visit to Loyola and over the weekend he was taking part in an elite camp at Baylor.

"I was at Loyola last Monday; it was nice. I didn't know they had all that stuff up there," he said.

Cooper, who plays on the AAU circuit for Mean Streets, said college coaches like the way he carries himself on the court.

"They just say I run the team good," he said. "What slows me down is my height and weight, so I'm trying to get stronger and faster."

Last season, the two-year starter averaged about 16 points and six assists per game for Hales Franciscan. After the school year he transferred to Seton Academy.

"I felt like it was time to see new things and get into a better academic situation," he said.

When it comes time for Cooper to pick a college, Cooper will be looking for many of the same things that led him to Seton Academy.

"I want to be somewhere I can come in and play and help the team win," he said. "I want to play good competition and have a chance to get into the tournament."

That bodes well for Kent State.

"I know they get to the tournament a lot and play a tough schedule," he said.

Cooper carries a 3.4 grade point average.

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