Sharife Cooper is one of the most dynamic point guards in the country, regardless of class. He led the Nike Peach Jam in scoring and assists while running with AOT (Ga.) last summer and is currently dominating the high school season with No. 2 McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.). That’s got college basketball heavyweights lining up trying to land the 6-foot-1 floor general and earned him the No. 3 overall ranking in USA Today Sports’ Chosen 25 for 2020. Now Cooper has agreed to give USA TODAY exclusive access into his world by chronicling everything from intimate details about his recruitment to his everyday life in a blog.
Hey, what’s up y’all, this is Sharife Cooper, back again with another blog so tune in!
I’m just happy right now!
We’re state champs and it’s a surreal feeling for me even right now. It hasn’t really hit me yet, but, like I said, I’m just happy.
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For us to be able to play the schedule that we played and finish the season 32-0 is special.
I’ve been so locked in all season and I never took time to look back because I was always looking at the next team that we had to play and only focusing on them, but now that I have time to reflect on everything it’s been a crazy run.
I’m taking a couple of days off now, maybe a week, but we’ll see if I’m able to do that. Haha!
Unfortunately, I won’t be able to play in the GEICO Nationals this year because of a prior commitment with USA basketball the same dates as GEICO.
We didn’t know for sure that we were gonna get in to the GEICO.
My freshman year we were undefeated and were hoping to get in, but as soon as we lost we were out; then my sophomore season we only lost two games and when we lost we were out, so not knowing how the season would end I confirmed with USA Basketball.
It’s always been a dream of mine to play for my country, and I’m finally getting the chance to do that.
I’m excited that the McDonald’s All-American Game is here in Atlanta again. I went last year, and I went when my sister was an All-American, so I saw a lot of what goes in to the game and it’s real cool.
I’m just focusing on getting better and better because that’s a goal of mine next year. The only thing that will make that a reality is hard work.
It’s crazy that it’s about time to start the spring/summer season now, but I’m excited about that too. We fell short of our Peach Jam goal last year, so that’s what we’re going for this year.
Me and Brandon (Boston) will be back and we’re gonna get more pieces, but I know that we’re gonna have another strong team this year.
It’s even better because most of the top guards in my class are gonna be on the EYBL this year.
I just love competition. It makes us all better when we’re competing against each other so it’s a win-win for everybody.
Not much has changed with my recruitment; like I said last time I’ve been focused on the goal with my team so much that I put that on the backburner for a while. I know things will probably be picking up even more now.
OK, with school things are still going well, I finished with a 3.2 GPA last semester, but that’s coming up.
Musically, I’ve been listening to a lot of A Boogie, Lil TJ, TJ Porter, Gunna and a few others.
OK, everybody I’m gonna get out of here now, but, as always, I appreciate you reading my blog.
I don’t know what I’m gonna do with myself with all this time off; maybe I’ll catch up on some sleep or something.
I’ll check you guys next time.
Don’t forget to follow Sharife Cooper:
There are emphatic dunks, and then there is Andre Gordon’s dunk fest-quality slam that you see below.
Gordon, a 6-foot-2 combo guard who went from Sidney (Ohio) High School to Huntington Prep (W.Va.) and back again, is a Virginia Tech signee and a freakish two-sport athlete. In one of his final regular season contests for Sidney, a victory at Piqua (Ohio) High School, Gordon got the ball on the break and elevated for what can only be called a signature slam: A bona fide 360, smooth as butter.
THAT WAS SMOOTH AF @20dre (via @TopBillingSport) pic.twitter.com/Jpdri7IZMo
— Overtime (@overtime) February 14, 2019
There are very, very few student-athletes who can throw down a dunk like that. Gordon is one, and Virginia Tech fans should be very excited that he’s on the way next season.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Back in October when Cox Mill High School (Concord, N.C.) wing Wendell Moore Jr. committed to Duke, he was adamant that he wouldn’t be the last high-profile player that the Blue Devils would land in the 2019 class.
Moore, who checks in No. 23 overall in USA Today Sports’ Chosen 25, made good on his promise; since his commitment the Blue Devils have reeled in two fellow Chosen 25 players in Mission Bay High School (San Diego) combo guard Boogie Ellis, who is ranked No. 25 overall, and University School (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) forward Vernon Carey Jr., who is ranked No. 3 overall.
Good luck trying to stop @thewendellmoore from getting to the basket. #CrownTown pic.twitter.com/Ux0AGKfYpu
— Jason Jordan (@JayJayUSATODAY) December 23, 2018
Now Moore is “confident” that the Blue Devils aren’t done.
“I feel like Isaiah (Stewart) will be the next one that commits to ‘The Brotherhood,” Moore said referring to Duke. “I’d say it’s close with us and a couple other schools, but at the end of the day I think we’ll end up getting him.”
Stewart, a forward at La Lumiere School (La Porte, Ind.), is ranked No. 4 overall in the Chosen 25; picking him up would give Duke the country’s No. 1 recruiting class.
“We’re trying to make that happen,” said Moore, who scored 25 points in Cox Mill’s 75-61 win over No. 24 Greensboro (N.C.) Day School Saturday night at the Crown Town Classic. “I talk to him twice a week, but that’s more because we’re real friends. I don’t always talk about Duke, we talk about everything.”
Moore contends that life has been a lot easier since he ended his recruitment a couple months back; now he’s laser-focused on trying to pull off the ever-elusive state title three-peat.
The Chargers are 8-0.
“It’s gonna be hard,” said Moore, who is averaging 26 points, seven rebounds and four assists this season. “People always say it’s hard to do it twice, so it’s even harder to do it three times. We have seven seniors so we have the experience and the talent; we just have to put it together.”
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – As competitive as Greensboro (N.C.) Day combo guard Carson McCorkle is he subscribes to the old cliché that the good thing about losses are the lessons learned as a result.
Never did that become clearer than when McCorkle and USA Basketball’s 3-on-3 national team failed to medal in Buenos Aires this past summer.
“It was a humbling experience,” said McCorkle, a junior who is committed to Virginia. “Of course because I was able to represent my country, but also because we got to play against grown men who were more experienced than us. I feel like the whole experience helped me grow as a player.”
The 3-on-3 games were played in a half-court setting with a 12-second shot clock. First team to 21 won the game or whichever team was leading at the end of 10 minutes.
“It’s all about movement and moving the ball around,” said McCorkle, who scored 12 points in No. 24 Greensboro Day’s 75-61 loss to Cox Mill High School (Concord, N.C.) Saturday night at the Crown Town Classic. “The European players move the ball extremely fast and it’s really hard to beat teams that are constantly moving and cutting and screening. I’ve really tried to carry that over to my high school season.”
This season, McCorkle is averaging 15 points, three assists and five rebounds a game on a Bengals squad that has three players averaging in double figures.
Greensboro Day is the reigning NCISAA Class 3-A state champion.
“It’s a new challenge this year because I have a bigger role,” McCorkle said. “My biggest thing is movement and communication. I feel like I’ve gotten better, but I want to keep growing in those areas. When I look back on my experience this summer, of course I would’ve wanted to win, but I still won because it helped me get a lot better.”
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY
Duke checks in at No. 3 in the latest USA Today/Coaches Poll, but most experts and analysts agree that the road to the national title runs through Durham, N.C.
That standard isn’t likely to change next season with University School (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) forward Vernon Carey Jr. suiting up for the Blue Devils. The five-star forward made the announcement in a Thursday afternoon press conference at the school, televised live on ESPN’s SportsCenter.
RELATED: 2019 Chosen 25 Boys Basketball Player Rankings
Carey, who is ranked No. 3 overall in USA Today Sports’ Chosen 25 for 2019, picked Duke over Michigan State and North Carolina.
“The reason why I chose Duke and Coach K is the recruiting class they’re bringing in this year,” Carey told ESPN’s Cari Champion. “Wendell Moore and Boogie Ellis, and hopefully some more guys will come with me.”
In Carey, Duke gets one of the biggest matchup problems in the country because of his versatility.
At 6-foot-10, Carey is a capable ball handler with the ability to create for his teammates, take his man off the dribble from the wing, knock down the perimeter jump shot and overpower and out-maneuver the opposition in the paint.
“They see me as a position-less player,” Carey told ESPN’s Seth Greenberg. “They said I can be anywhere on the court, so that worked well with me.”
RELATED: ALL-USA Preseason Boys Basketball Team
In October, Carey told USA Today Sports that he welcomed the idea of playing alongside another dominant big man; that should help immensely in Duke’s pursuit of La Lumiere School (La Porte, Ind.) forward Isaiah Stewart, who is ranked No. 4 overall in the Chosen 25.
Last season, Carey averaged 26 points and 10.4 rebounds a game in route to leading the Sharks to a state title and the GEICO High School Nationals championship game.
Carey is Duke’s third commitment from the 2019 class, joining Cox Mill High School (Concord, N.C.) wing Wendell Moore Jr., ranked No. 23 overall in the Chosen 25, and Mission Bay High School (San Diego) combo guard Boogie Ellis, ranked No. 25 overall in the Chosen 25.
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY
We try not to overwhelm this space with amazing dunks, but sometimes there is an in-game jam that is so impressive it’s impossible not to highlight. Dekeyvan “KyKy” Tandy’s most recent effort absolutely fits that description.
Break out the fastbreak EASTBAY @TandyDekeyvan pic.twitter.com/9AYzlSNqLm
— Overtime (@overtime) December 2, 2018
Tandy threw down a full Eastbay dunk on a fastbreak during a game against Doss High School (Louisville). That’s the kind of dunk that a player might pull out in a dunk contest, not during a game.
And it’s worth keeping in mind, Tandy is just 6-foot-1. Wow.
That athleticism highlights what made Tandy such a highly sought after recruit before he pledged his future to Xavier. Where he goes from here is anyone’s guess, but given his talent, it’s likely up in one direction or the other.
Isaiah Stewart is ranked No. 3 overall in USA Today Sports’ Chosen 25 for 2019 after dominating the competition with La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.) during the high school season and City Rocks (N.Y.) during the summer circuit season. That kind of play has got everyone from Duke to Michigan State to Villanova, among many others in hot pursuit. Now Stewart has agreed to give USA TODAY Sports exclusive access into his world by chronicling everything from intimate details about his recruitment to his everyday life in a blog.
Isaiah Stewart here and I’m back to update you guys on what’s going on!
I know it’s been a while, but I’m here to let you know what’s been going on in Zay’s World!
I’ve been on a bunch of visits here lately that I want to tell you guys about.
The last visit I went on was to Michigan State and I had a ball there.
I got to hang out with the guys most of the visit and had a great time. I went to the football game and took in the atmosphere. It was just a visit where I got to really get a feel for what life would be like if I went there. I think the thing that stood out most is how close the players are. They really do hang out and do everything together. That was big because when it’s like that you know that you’re gonna have great chemistry that will lead to wins on the court.
The visit before that was to Syracuse and that was fun because it’s the hometown school. I got to meet with the guys and the coaching staff and they laid out the blueprint for me. They feel like I can be the special player that accomplish a lot of things like Carmelo Anthony did for them.
That’s big for me.
Before that visit was the Kentucky visit and that was a fun visit as well.
I got a chance to see the practice and the thing that stood out the most was how intense the guys were. I love that because I know they all just want to get better.
Coach Cal’s message was that I can come in and go to work. You just go with the opportunity there and if I work hard, hopefully, I’ll get a chance to leave achieve my dreams.
Duke is gonna be my last visit and that’s this weekend so I’m looking forward to that. I’m mostly looking forward to hanging out with the guys and just taking in what it would be like to go there.
I already have a great relationship with Coach K and the staff so I want to get the players’ take on everything.
I won’t be able to sign during the early period, but it’s all good. I can still commit. I’m not worried about not being able to sign. I would like to go ahead and make a commitment after the last visit, but it’s all about how I’m feeling and if I feel like I’m ready.
OK, right now I’m feeling really good about how my high school team is looking this season. We’ve just got a lot of talented guys that want to work and get better. We’re playing with a chip on shoulder this season and I’m excited about what we’ll be able to do.
Right now, we’re No. 6 in the USA Today Super 25 and I ain’t gonna lie that’s about five spots too low for us! We’re not stressing it; we’re just gonna work hard and prove it.
A few things I really want to work on individually is my finesse game. Everyone knows me for my strength and power, but I’ve added more to my game like going to the perimeter, facing up, putting the ball on the floor and all of that. That’s the way the game is being played now so I want to continue to polish that part of my game this season as I get ready for college.
School is going good for me right now too. I’m trying to finish up my first semester as strong a possible. My goal is to get three A’s and two B’s, but hopefully I’m gonna pull out all A’s.
OK, let’s get in to this music real quick; right now I’m listening to NBA YoungBoy. He’s the best out right now to me. That’s who I’m throwing on in the headphones before a game. Then I’m listening to Lil Baby, YG, Lil Uzi and I’m also listening to my boy Nahziah Carter. He plays for Washington and he’s actually Jay Z’s nephew, but he’s nice on the mic too.
He keeps it on the low, but he sends me his unreleased songs and they’re tough!
Of course I’m still listening to that reggae heavy too! Always.
I want to add in a little fashion tips in my blog too because I love to look good off the court. I’m always looking at different styles. I always like looking nice and presentable no matter what. I’d have to say my go-to look is a Nike suit with a fresh pair of Jordans.
Now if I’m trying to get dripped-up I’m gonna throw on some gold, put the earrings in, put some cut-up jeans on, nice pair or fly J’s or some Balenciaga’s! I can get dripped up a lil’ bit!
OK, guys I appreciate you checking out my latest blog and I’ll be back soon to let you know how the Duke visit went and what’s next for me.
Shoutout to you guys for keeping up with my blog!
Thanks again for tuning in with your boy Zay!
Don’t forget to follow Isaiah Stewart:
Last month when Cox Mill High School (Concord, N.C.) wing Wendell Moore Jr. committed to Duke he hinted that the Blue Devils would “soon” be reeling in more five-star talent to accompany him in Durham, N.C., next season.
That prediction came to fruition Friday night when Mission Valley High School (San Diego) combo guard Boogie Ellis committed to the Blue Devils over North Carolina, Memphis, USC and San Diego State.
110% committed ……….thank you to my San Diego AllStars (SDA) family and Oakland soldier family for putting me on the biggest stage Mission Bay High School for standing behind me and all my teammates and coaches that have been there with me through this process #salute pic.twitter.com/lljgOMLYqB
— Boogie Ellis (@BoogieEllis) November 10, 2018
Ellis, who is ranked No. 25 overall in USA Today Sports’ Chosen 25 for 2019, was one of the most dynamic scorers this summer on the Nike EYBL, averaging 17 points per game and draining 46 percent of his threes for the Oakland Soldiers.
Ellis and Moore, who is ranked No. 22 overall in the Chosen 25, make up Duke’s current recruiting haul for the 2019 class, but the Blue Devils are still very much in-play for elite frontcourt stars like University School (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) forward Vernon Carey Jr., ranked No. 2 overall in the Chosen 25, and La Lumiere School (La Porte, Ind.) forward Isaiah Stewart, ranked No. 3 overall in the Chosen 25.
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY
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