January 14, 2010

Tide targeting 2011 hoops star

The future continues to look bright for Anthony Grant and the Alabama basketball program and now Grant is already hard at work on the 2011 recruiting class. One of the top in-state prospects for 2011 is three-star shooting guard Rodney Cooper out of Phenix City (AL) Russell County and the Crimson Tide have jumped out with an early offer for the junior sharpshooter.

"I've been doing pretty well this season. I'm averaging about 24 points per game right now and I do a little bit of everything for my team. I can handle the ball and play point guard, I can play wing, I can even post up and play center against most of the big men we play against."

Along with Alabama, Cooper holds offers from Georgia and UAB and has received plenty of interest from Arkansas, South Carolina, Missouri, Virginia and Oklahoma.

"Georgia and Alabama are the two that I'm definitely talking the most with, although I have an offer from UAB too. I'm hearing a lot more from Arkansas lately so I'm thinking they might offer soon and Virginia has been talking to me a lot more too."

Though Cooper claims all three schools that have offered him are even at this point, as the in-state school the Crimson Tide certainly hold an edge when it comes to comfort and familiarity.

"I'm really familiar with Alabama. I know the campus well, I've been there plenty of times. Coach (Antoine) Pettway and I talk a lot and I feel really good about the whole direction that program seems to be headed."

"As soon as I saw Alabama play a few games with Coach Grant in charge, I became really interested. That full-court press defense and fast tempo really fits my game and plays to my strengths as a player."

"I'm obviously not as familiar with Georgia but I have talked to their coaching staff a lot and I really like their playing style as well. The triangle offense is something a strong shooter like me can really do well in."

While the Tide and Bulldogs are both within driving distance of Cooper's hometown of Phenix City, the 6-foot-5, 185-pound junior said he isn't confined to staying close to home.

"Playing somewhere close to home really isn't my number one concern. I want to go somewhere that I can make an impact early on."

"I want to make my decision sometime this summer and get it out of the way early. I don't want to be worried about it going into my senior year."

Cooper also plays with AAU club team Alabama Challenge.

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