NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Ohio junior guard D.J. Cooper told that Tennessee and Baylor contacted him after his freshman season at Ohio, trying to get him to leave Ohio.

Recruiting a player before he is released from his current program is against NCAA rules, but Cooper was contacted after his freshman season when he was the MAC Freshman of the Year and led the Bobcats to their first NCAA tournament win in 27 seasons.

Donell and Dionne Cooper, D.J.’s parents, also told after Ohio’s 62-56 victory Sunday against South Florida that Tennessee and Baylor were among the schools that tried to get their son to transfer.

“That [Tennessee and Baylor] was about it,” D.J. Cooper said Sunday night after the victory.

Donell Cooper told that former Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl “tried the hardest” to get his son to transfer.

“It was surprising, being my first experience, that schools were wanting me to come play for their programs,” D.J. Cooper said. “I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to stick with Ohio and Coach [John] Groce.

“I didn’t think about leaving. It’s about loyalty. I’m sticking with Coach Groce, he believed in me from the start. I didn’t listen to any of that [transfer talk]. I just focused on getting better as a sophomore.”

Against USF, D.J. Cooper had 19 points, seven assists, six rebounds and two steals leading the Bobcats to two NCAA tournament wins for the first time in school history and a berth in the Sweet 16.

“It’s hard to say how many there were contacting us,” Donell Cooper said Sunday night at Bridgestone Arena. “It was shocking to me that so many coaches would do that behind a school’s back.”

Cooper's father said that Tennessee and Baylor were among the schools that tried to sway his son to leave Ohio, but it was Pearl who worked the hardest to get D.J. to leave.

Pearl was fired at Tennessee on March 22, 2011. He was charged by the NCAA with unethical conduct and committed NCAA violations, not involving Cooper, on Sept. 14, 2010, and in March 2011.

Dionne Cooper also told the New York Times that Baylor coach Scott Drew tried to get her son to leave. However, Drew told the New York Times Sunday night that after Cooper signed with Ohio “I never talked with the mom or the dad or D.J.”

Dionne Cooper said her son never considered leaving Ohio.

“He made a commitment to John Groce and he wasn't going to break that commitment,” Dionne Cooper said.