Arizona basketball: 2014 recruit Cooper decommits

Father says decision not related to Jerrett considering leaving
2013-04-17T00:00:00Z 2014-08-01T11:31:21Z Arizona basketball: 2014 recruit Cooper decommitsBruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
April 17, 2013 12:00 am  • 

High school teammates Grant Jerrett and Eric Cooper committed together to Arizona in November 2010, but the sum total of their Wildcats careers may be just one season.

Just after news surfaced Monday that Jerrett was considering an early NBA departure after his freshman season, Cooper decommitted from the Wildcats.

Cooper, an unrated guard who reclassified from the class of 2013 to 2014, has suffered several injury problems since his commitment as a high school sophomore. His father, former UA player Eric Cooper, said Tuesday that his son wanted to see what would be a good fit as he continues developing.

The younger Cooper played for his father at Long Beach (Calif.) St. Anthony's this season and is scheduled to play at Brewster (N.H.) Academy for a fifth year next season.

"It's hard for Arizona to have a sense for what he's going to be when he finally gets on campus, so they have to continue on with their recruiting," the elder Cooper said.

"If you look at the trend for Arizona, they have a lot of recruits, and there's always going to be somebody else. We already knew that."

While the odd timing of Cooper's decommitment may have suggested a connection with Jerrett's decision, since the elder Cooper coached both players at LaVerne (Calif.) Lutheran High School, Cooper said the two situations were not related.

"This decommitting thing has been in the works for a long time, but now it just came out," Cooper said, adding that UA coach Sean Miller was "wonderful" in handling his son's situation.

"We talked to Sean and said we'd keep Arizona at the top of our list," Cooper said.

"He said, 'Without a doubt, we need a guy like him.' We had a great understanding.

"Eric was so young when he did this, and a lot has changed. We just want to see what else is out there."

Gordon to sign today

Aaron Gordon will stop by Archbishop Mitty High School this morning to sign his letter of intent to play for Arizona next season.

He also has a rare chance to attend some classes.

Gordon, who will join several other Mitty athletes at a signing ceremony on the first day of the spring signing period, hasn't been home a whole lot this month. He went to Chicago for the McDonald's All American Game on April 3, then took off last week for New York and the Jordan Brand Classic game on April 13.

Next up is a long weekend in Portland, Ore., where Gordon will play in Saturday's Nike Hoop Summit game on the USA Select team alongside fellow UA recruit Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.

"That's been one of the toughest things," Mitty coach Tim Kennedy said. "The nice thing about the McDonald's game was that it came during spring break, but now he's missed a couple of classes. He's got a lot of makeup work that he's got to get done."

On the court, Gordon has had a pair of memorable performances for different reasons. He was the MVP of the McDonald's game with 24 oft-acrobatic points, but he had just three points on 1-for-6 shooting in the Jordan game along with three rebounds and four turnovers.

"Definitely was not my best," Gordon said on Twitter after the Jordan game. "Tomorrows a new day. Best believe I'm gunna be in the gym tomorrow. Good or bad."

Kennedy, who was an assistant coach for the West team in the Jordan game, said Gordon put too much pressure on himself and was poked in the eye in the early minutes.

"He missed a couple of shots early and pressed a little," Kennedy said. After the eye injury, "it closed halfway, but I don't think that was the reason he didn't play well. He made some good passes, and a couple of guys missed him on some passes where he would have dunked. He wants to play the perfect game … but sometimes it doesn't work out that way."

Hollis-Jefferson, meanwhile, had an impressive Jordan game performance, with seven points on 3-for-5 shooting, seven rebounds, two steals and two blocks.

Lyons helped stock

Former UA guard Mark Lyons may have improved his professional chances while helping lead his K&D Round's Landscaping team to the championship of the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament last weekend.

In K&D's 87-78 championship win over Roger Brown's Restaurant on Saturday, Lyons had 20 points on 5-for-10 shooting, making 7 of 8 free throws. He dished four assists to three turnovers and had a steal. For the three games he played in the PIT, a seniors-only predraft event, Lyons averaged 14.7 points, 2.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 2.6 turnovers and 2.6 steals.

"I thought (Lyons) helped himself," said Jonathan Givony, president of Draft Express. "He showed he's one of the best athletes out there in the senior class, and he was really aggressive. … He didn't play selfishly. He did what he does, which is score."

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