Jan 29, 2012; Fayetteville, AR, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide guard Rodney Cooper (21) drives past Arkansas Razorbacks forward Hunter Mickelson (21) and guard Mardracus Wade (1) during a game at Bud Walton Arena. Alabama defeated Arkansas 79-68. Mandatory Credit: Beth Hall-US PRESSWIRE

Alabama Basketball Player Previews: Rodney Cooper

Credit: Kelly Lambert-US PRESSWIRE

The Alabama Crimson Tide basketball season is quickly approaching, with the Tide hosting an exhibition game against Stillman College on November 6th. The season gets officially underway on November 9th as Alabama hosts South Dakota State as part of the 2K Sports Classic.

With the season so close, BamaHammer writers John Mitchell, Nick Jones, and Chris Dodson are previewing each of the ten players on scholarship for the Crimson Tide. Make sure you keep up with the previews as a new player will be previewed each day.

Here’s the schedule:

10/29: Retin Obasohan
10/30: Devonta Pollard
10/31: Rodney Cooper
11/1: Trevor Lacey
11/2: Nick Jacobs
11/3: Levi Randolph
11/4: Carl Engstrom
11/4: Moussa Gueye
11/5: Trevor Releford
11/5: Andrew Steele

* * * *

One of four sophomores on Alabama’s 2012-2013 roster, Cooper contributed as freshman to the Alabama squad last year, where he started in 14 of the 33 games Alabama played and saw playing time in all but two of those games.

Cooper was rated by many recruiting services as a 3-star recruit while he played at Russell County High School in Phenix City, Alabama. In his senior year at RCHS, he averaged 31.3 points and 10.4 rebounds per game and had 20 points and 9 rebounds the year before. He was also named to the Alabama Sports Writers Association All-State 1st team.

During his time with the Crimson Tide last season, he led the team in scoring in two games last season when they faced Arkansas and LSU, both on the road. In that LSU game, he eventually had scored the most points in single game last season with 28 points for the 38 minutes he played. He scored 17 points in the win against the Razorbacks.

Rodney may have had only a season under his belt, but he’s shown streaks that he’s not just some high school standout that’s a bust in college. Again, he had 14 starts last year, which means at least coach Anthony Grant believes that he has the talent to contribute into the Tide. Grant doesn’t start players without knowing that they can contribute to the team in a huge way.

That’s true, but probably one of the contributing factors on why Cooper got the start against LSU in the first place is because Grant had suspended JaMychal Green, Trevor Releford, Andrew Steele and Tony Mitchell. Still, he took advantage of it and made it his game.

This season, look to him having a bigger role as an offensive player to but balls in the basket. Although, if he wants to be the dynamic player that everyone expects him to be, he needs to work on his defensive play. If Grant gives him more playing time, he’ll get that opportunity to prove he’s more than just a prolific scorer.

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Tags: Alabama Crimson Tide Basketball

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