Former Notre Dame big man Jack Cooley went undrafted in the 2013 NBA Draft. In his senior season with the Fighting Irish, Cooley played 29.3 minutes per game and averaged 13.1 points, 10.1 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game while shooting 57.9 percent from the field. That was enough for him to get an invite from the Memphis Grizzlies to the Las Vegas NBA Summer League.
Through the Grizzlies first four games at Summer League, Cooley has arguably been their most consistent player. In 30 minutes per game, Cooley has averaged 15.3 points, 9.5 rebounds and 0.8 steals per game while shooting a solid 52 percent from the field and knocking down three of his 10 three-point attempts.
There were several reasons why Cooley’s name wasn’t called on the night of the draft. The biggest of those reasons is the fact that he’s not that big, especially in the context of the NBA. He measured just 6’8” without shoes on and weighs a relatively average 244 pounds. He does boast a pretty impressive 7’1.5” wingspan, though.
With Cooley’s lack of size, people really wanted him to show proficiency with his mid-range jumper of his senior season, but he never really stepped out of the post to any degree of importance.
The other big knock on Cooley, especially with that lack of size, is the fact that he’s not an incredible athlete. He’s serviceable getting up and down the floor and using his wingspan to his advantage, but he doesn’t have great quickness from side-to-side, which really hinders him on the defensive side of the ball.
However, one of the things that Cooley does possess and has put on display at Summer League is a fantastic motor and sense of physicality. Cooley doesn’t shy away from banging with the big bodies in the post and is relentless in all of his efforts on the floor.
If Cooley finds a landing spot in the NBA next season, it likely won’t be with Memphis as they already have a pretty deep frontcourt filled with talented players. However, there are always teams looking for high-energy guys with great motors and a bit of skill. Cooley definitely fits the bill in that regard and it seems like he’s put on a good enough show in Summer League that he’ll find a home in the league.