- Johnny Esfeller
IMG Academy guard Eric Cooper, Jr. verbally commits to Nevada
On September 8, IMG Academy point guard Eric Cooper, Jr. verbally committed to the University of Nevada. Cooper joined the IMG Academy boys basketball program over the summer, and is set to sign his National Letter of Intent in November. Cooper will join the Wolf Pack men’s basketball team for the 2014-15 season.
“The coaches at Nevada laid out a plan for me, and he went through it with me while I was on my visit, and I felt like I agreed with his plan, and I really like the campus; the location was perfect, too, since I’m from California,” Cooper explained of what attracted him to Nevada. “I came to IMG Academy because I heard how good the training was, and I wanted to be as ready for college as I could be physically and mentally, plus the team around me this year and the coaching is going to be great.”
This upcoming season, Cooper will help lead the IMG Academy Boys Basketball program that saw four of its starters sign with Division-I schools with the Class of 2013, including Tommy Hamilton (DePaul), William Powell (Seattle University), Darius Lewis (Duquesne) and Daniel Robinson (Florida International). IMG Academy alumni also made waves in the collegiate ranks during the 2012-13 NCAA regular season, with the likes of Dwight Powell, who earned First Team All-Pac 12 honors and the Pac 12’s Most Improved Player award with the Stanford Cardinal; Kenny Kadji, who helped the Miami Hurricanes to an ACC Conference Tournament title while earning Second Team All-ACC honors; Jamari Traylor, who helped the Kansas Jayhawks earn a regular season and conference tournament championship; and Kamari Murphy, who helped the Oklahoma State Cowboys earn a berth into the NCAA Tournament in March.
“We’re all happy for Eric and his family, he worked real hard to come this far and earn a scholarship to Nevada, which I believe is a perfect fit for him,” remarked IMG Academy coach John Mahoney. “Eric’s a very good combo guard who can run a team and also score, and this is big for our program because he’s heading to a quality program and he’s a quality player and we’re really excited about him.”
Mahoney has high expectation of Cooper, adding, “This season, Eric will be playing lead guard, and we’ll also play him in the off-guard - he’s going to be our scorer, someone we’re going to have to go to get some points on the perimeter, and we’re going to count on him for his leadership and someone to run the team on the floor.”
The 6-foot-4, 180-pound point guard will play collegiately for Nevada Head Coach David Carter. Carter is in his fourth year as head coach, and coming off one of the most successful seasons in school history. The Wolf Pack posted a 28-7 overall record and won its sixth WAC regular season championship with a 13-1 mark. It was the fourth outright WAC title for Nevada.