College basketball had gone through nearly 120 years of existence before a player put up more than 2,000 points, 900 assists, 600 rebounds and 300 steals in a career.
Now that record/threshold belongs to Ohio senior stud point guard D.J. Cooper. Cooper set the mark in the team's game at Buffalo on Tuesday night. The last of the four benchmarks that needed to be eclipsed was the 2,000 points. He did it early in the first half, and then Ohio eked out a 72-69 win on the road -- the same place that was witness to Akron's 19-game winning streak ending over the weekend.
We documented this inevitability back in late January on the blog. It's rare when we see a college basketball stat like this come up. It's not a round number, and so it will be one of those achievements that only Ohio/MAC fans and true hoops diehards will be able to recall in short time -- but it is pretty damn impressive. Especially considering Cooper's stature. A savvy, aggressive -- but relatively small; he's listed at 6 feet, 176 pounds -- player snaring 600 boards is especially outstanding.
"Coach (John) Groce did a great job of helping my development get better and getting me more discipline and bringing my practice habits through game time," Cooper said by phone Tuesday night. "I know it's a big mark to have my name as the only person to hit those numbers. I can't say it's sunk in right now. Maybe year or two down the road when I'm looking back at my career in Ohio. I'm blessed."
A good chunk of players have achieved 2,000/900/300 before; it's that rebound mark that will keep Cooper alone for a good while, most likely. As for getting to that coveted 1,000-assist mark, Cooper will need to have Ohio make a deep run in the both the MAC and NCAA/NIT tournament in order to eclipse it. His 7.4 average was tied for fifth in D-I entering Tuesday night's games.
Cooper credited his "decision-making, and I worked extremely hard on my jump shot" in coming to achieve this mark. It's a special one, and the latest etching in a career that includes a Sweet 16 appearance, which Ohio did last season. But now it's got to make a run at Akron, which it hast lost two twice this year, and try for a third NCAA tourney appearance in the past four years, all in Cooper's time there.
"We're the same team as last year," Cooper said, referring to all the upperclassmen who took part in the big run.
Yet he's an even better player. If any guard can carry a team to another MAC title and shot at the NCAAs, it's this one. He'd probably trade the record for it in a flash, too.
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