Deshaun Cooper is a 22 year old 173cm point guard from St Louis that is commencing on his professional basketball career with German pro B team Herten. He played at NW Missouri St. (NCAA2) from 2009-2014 playing a total of 114 NCAA2 games. As a senior he played 32 games: 17.6ppg, 3.6rpg, 4.0apg, FGP: 46.6%, 3PT: 41.9%, FT: 76.3%. He spoke to German Hoops earlier this summer before he came to Germany about basketball.
You got signed very early by German agency Scorers 1st. How thankful are you that you were able to find a team so early and quickly with Herten?
I’m very thankful to have found a team at a early time. When I first talked to my agent he told me I probably wouldn’t get any offers till July or August and when it came that fast it just changed the outlook on my summer. Now I just train to better my game and improve everyday just waiting on my time to leave instead of wondering who will I play for or if I even will get a team that’s interested
So often you have very talented players coming from NCAA2 or even NCAA3 that have to prove themselves in lower German leagues. How ready are you for the challenge of having to come into a lower league, but have to perform?
I’m very ready. Every team I ever played on I had to perform. I mean I’m built for it and I think I’m ready to take on the challenge at the professional level as well. Now I feel it will be easier because I don’t have school or anything else to focus on. It’s just me and basketball and I can’t ask for much more than that
What do you know about German basketball? Do you have any friends playing here? There have been guys out of St Louis that have played in Germany.
I know the basics of German basketball like the time of the quarters and you can knock the ball off the rim I think. But other than that I will have to learn. I do have a couple of people that I know played there and they said they loved it
You earned Missouri Class 4A first-team all-state honors at Jennings High School after averaging 21 points, 3.7 assists and 3.4 steals during his senior season under head coach Randy Carter. Were you very disappointed that you didn´t get recruited by the bigger schools and end up playing division one basketball?
I wouldn’t say I was disappointed it was just the obstacle I faced for being 5″7. I had divisions 1 recruiting me but no one wanted to take the chance. I just knew I wanted to play basketball at any level as long as I was still playing. I’m in love with the game not the levels of the game. Basketball is basketball to me. I knew if I played like I knew I can play the opportunity will come for me to get notice at the next level and that’s what happened
You sat out your junior season at NW Missouri St. (NCAA2) due to injury. How tough was it having to sit out? Was there any person or people that helped you most besides your family and friends that helped you come back and have such a strong senior season?
I would say it was a mental challenge. At first when I played the game of basketball I just played with no thinking. With that injury it helped me see the game from a different view. I started to actually understand the game mentally. It helped a lot with my leadership on the court. To start off the year it was tough but as time went on I understood that I was still around the game and I was still learning it was just in a different way. Other than my family I would say my coach helped me a lot. We would talk about many different things to help me understand the game better.
When looking at your stats, it comes to mind that you are a scoring point guard with solid assists ratio, but not up at six or seven. How would you describe the type of player that you are?
The player that I am would say I attack. My objective is to get a basket no matter if it’s me scoring or my teammates. I feel I can get into the paint when I want to and when I do it’s either me scoring or my teammates.
Are you the type of player that could average 7-8 assists a game if the coach enforced you to do it?
Yes I could average 6 or 7 assist but when dealing with assist it takes 2. I can get my teammates good looks it just depends if they convert on them or not
What is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away?
Hidden strength is my rebounding ability. I feel I have good timing on the ball and when to jump. But I’m 5″7 so many people will overlook that
You reached the Div 2 Sweet 16. What will be your fondest memory from this run?
My fondest memory will me the sweet 16. Just knowing where the program was when I arrived and knowing where the program is when I left is the biggest thing I would remember. We went from last in the conference and only winning 10 games my first 2 years to winning the conference championship and making the national tournament my last 2 years I played
Was your single highlight of your senior season your 32 point game against Missouri Southeren where you hit the game winner with three seconds to play? Was that play designed for you?
Yes that memory will always remain with me and it wasn’t a play designed it was just the feeling of the game and the will of me wanting to win. That shot came off a rebound and my coach just said go. He put his trust in me and I converted
How did head coach Ben Mccollum get you prepared best for a professional basketball career for which you will always be thankful?
My coach taught me about working hard and committing to the game. I feel that is stuck in my and will help me a lot with my pro career.
Who was the best player that you ever played against in college that might be in the NBA or Europe now?
Best player I would say Bryton Hobbs. He was a scoring machine in out conference and I grew up with him but it didn’t stop me from winning by 20 points lol.
I saw on a video that you were responsible of “The Move”. You made one sudden jerk and your defender just fell back wards as if you had an invisible arm that pushed him. Lol. Can you explain what really happened on that play?
That defender was very jittery. He was always on his heels because of my quickness and when I have him with that jab he went for it and fell. I looked up and I was wide open so I shot it
Jimmy Mckinney played at Missouri(NCAA) and won three high school titles at Vashoun high school. Mckinney has been playing in Germany since 2006. How much of a basketball legend is he in St Louis and have you ever met him or been on the court with him in the summer?
Jimmy McKinney is a great ball player but I haven’t been able to get on the court with him yet but I seen him play a couple times before
How does a typical summer work out day look like for Deshaun Cooper on and off the court?
A typical workout day I will wake up and do cardio and pro agility then around midday go get a basketball workout and then later play pick up games
Where will the journey of the St Louis Cardinals end this summer?
The Cardinals I really don’t know but I hope the World Series …I have to show love to my city.
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
The last DVD I watched was “About last night” it was a pretty funny movie.
Thanks for the chat Deshaun Cooper.