Former ODU Forward Chris Cooper Selected in D-League Second Round

By Donnell Coley

Forward Chris Cooper was selected in the second round of the NBA Developmental League by the Bakersfield Jam.  Cooper (ODU ’12) was one of seven players added to the Jam roster in Friday night’s draft.

As a Monarch, the 6-9, 230 pounds big man was known for his rugged rebounding throughout his four year tenure in Norfolk.  He was named second team All-CAA last season and was the first ODU player to average a double-double since ex-NBA forward, Cal Bowdler did it in 1999.  His 10.1 rebounds per game ranked 20th nationally and had a career-high 22 rebounds against JMU.   He finished 13th in the nation in double-doubles.

The Jam is affiliated with four NBA teams: Atlanta Hawks, Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix Suns, and Toronto Raptors.  They finished third in the western conference with a 28-22 record last season and were led by 6-11 center Brian Butch who averaged 16.0 points per game and 13.0 rebounds.  Jam head coach Will Voigt is excited about Cooper and the rest of the 2012 draft class.

“I am proud of how hard our staff worked to prepare for this year’s draft.  I really think we have a great group of guys coming in,” said Voigt.  “We are very excited about the level of talent we will have in training camp and look forward to starting practice soon.

“The D-League was founded in 2011 and serves as a breeding ground for players needing more preparation to be successful in the NBA.  There are 16 teams with direct associations to NBA organizations.  The teams play 50 regular season games including playoffs in April.  In the 2011-12 season, 27 percent of NBA players had some type of previous D-League experience. The most notable recent players to come from the D-League are Gerald Green, Marcin Gortat, and overnight sensation Jeremy Lin.

Cooper and the rest of the new Jam members will report to training camp next weekend.  Their first game will be on Friday Nov. 23 against the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.


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