Updated Wed, Mar 13, 2013 9:26 am
The Mid-American Conference announced Wednesday that Ohio guard D.J. Cooper has been named the conference’s Player of the Year for the 2012-13 season. It is the senior’s first time receiving this conference accolade in his four-year career.
Cooper shot career-highs in field goal percentage (.429) and three-point percentage (.359) and averaged 14.2 points and 7.2 assists this season. He adds this award to an already impressive résumé for the point guard.
He is one of only two players in Ohio history to ever be the MAC Player of the Year, MAC Freshman of the Year, and be named to three First Team All-MAC honors. The other is former Bobcat great Gary Trent, who was drafted with the 11th overall pick in the first round of the 1995 NBA Draft.
There is one thing, though, that Cooper has done that separates himself from Trent and all of the greatest players to ever play in the Ohio basketball program. In fact, no one in college basketball history has ever done it.
Cooper finished the regular season as the only player in NCAA Division I history to eclipse career numbers of 2,000 points, 900 assists, 600 rebounds and 300 steals. He currently sits in 20th in NCAA history with 323 career steals and 12th with 914 assists. With the MAC Tournament approaching, Cooper is 25 assists away from tying Gary Payton for 11th all-time.
In his four years, Cooper has accomplished a lot, shown by his awards and statistics. And just recently, he led the Bobcats to their first conference regular season championship since the 1993-94 season, as they tied the Akron Zips this year with a record of 14-2 in the MAC.
Cooper averaged 19.3 points in the final four games to seal the Co-MAC Regular Season title, but ultimately, the MAC Tournament will offer a different test. From past tournaments, Cooper’s postseason achievements are the highlight of his career.
In his first three MAC Tournaments, he averaged 13.0 points and 6.6 assists. He particularly excelled last postseason with 20.0 points and 6.7 assists, as he led the Bobcats to the MAC Championship victory.
With two MAC Tournament titles and three wins in the NCAA Tournament, Cooper has had one of the best postseason careers in Bobcat history.
With Ohio set to play in the semifinals of the 2013 MAC Tournament on Friday, Cooper will attempt to cap off his successful career with one more run at an NCAA Tournament berth. Tipoff for Friday’s game is at 9 p.m.