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Syracuse Basketball: Fast-rising wing takes pride in defense, leadership

Syracuse basketball (Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images)
Syracuse basketball (Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images) /
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Not too long ago, Syracuse basketball offered a scholarship to Kaden Cooper, who is one of the hottest prospects in his class.

Last month, during NCAA live periods on the grassroots basketball circuit, the 6-foot-6 guard/small forward raised his stock as much as virtually anyone in the 2023 class.

These days, Cooper’s recruitment is literally blowing up right and left with new offers. He’s a three-star player in his cycle, according to some recruiting services, but that is going to change.

While I’m not a recruiting analyst nor a scout, I feel quite comfortable in saying that Cooper is a four-star, top-100 player in 2023, and his national ratings could end up way higher than that.

Despite heavy competition that is growing all the time, Orange coaches appear to be staying in consistent communication with Cooper, as noted in a recent tweet from scouting service Pro Insight.

A recent interview sheds light on Syracuse basketball recruit Kaden Cooper.

Cooper, who plays for The Skill Factory in Atlanta as well as the Oklahoma-based Team Trae Young in the Adidas league, recently did a Q&A with Pro Insight, and it’s a must-read.

I’ll put it this way. Kaden Cooper is a high-school player whom I really would love to see don a ‘Cuse uniform down the line, for how he plays on the court, and also for what seems to be the most important to him.

First and foremost, Cooper in the Pro Insight interview notes that he’s a gym rat. His work ethic is top-notch. And he’s competitive and confident, but Cooper is also humble.

Cooper said to Pro Insight that he takes a lot of pride on the defensive end of the floor, adding, “I feel like I’m one of the best defenders in my class.” I dig that kind of confidence.

Scoring points is great, and he has confidence in his shooting touch as well as his play-making abilities. But Cooper is also big on making the hustle plays, grabbing the 50-50 balls, rebounding with assertion, and playing with high energy and enthusiasm.

Perhaps more important than anything else, Cooper says that he’s a leader on the court, communicating all the time, while doing whatever he can to support his teammates.

"Check this quote out. “I wanna be remembered as the guy that basically just cared about his team like at all times whether they were losing or winning. Basically just the guy that picks everybody up when they are down, keeps the team motivated, keeps their energy up. Not necessarily like the nice guy, but just basically the leader.”"

How could you not want a young man like Kaden Cooper on your squad?

For the Orange, though, it’s going to prove a huge challenge to prevail in Cooper’s recruitment. His offer list includes Houston, Pittsburgh, TCU, Mississippi State, Xavier, Kansas, Illinois, Texas, Texas Tech, Kansas State, Georgia Tech, Creighton, LSU, Wake Forest, Oklahoma, St. John’s, Rutgers, DePaul, Oklahoma State, Omaha, Kent State, Oral Roberts, UNLV, Tulsa and SMU.

What’s more, college teams such as Kentucky, Gonzaga, Maryland, West Virginia, Oregon, Butler and Connecticut are reportedly showing interest in him.

Hopefully, Syracuse basketball will emerge as a significant contender for Kaden Cooper. Whichever team lands him, I must say, is going to get a truly admirable young man.

Next. Syracuse Basketball: Projected starting rotation for the 2022-23 season. dark