A deeper dive into Sharife Cooper's instant impact on Auburn basketball's offense
Yes, a 26-and-9 line in a college debut speaks for itself. But film breakdown and a closer look at the numbers tell an even bigger story from Saturday.
Sharife Cooper was going to have a significant impact in his first college game. This much was certain.
Auburn basketball spent its first 11 games of the season without a natural point guard ever taking the floor. Then, boom, insert the highest-rated recruit in program history — not because of his measureables in an upside-obsessed scouting ecosystem, but because of how much a pure, national award-winning talent he was at the 1.
And even though Cooper hadn’t played in a competitive game in nearly a year or that he had just returned to practice after a 72-day absence, the Tigers were still about to go from a point guard-less existence to life with a 5-star floor general.
Statistically, the impact was immense. In a 94-90 loss to a red-hot Alabama team that had been excellent on defense to start SEC play, Cooper had 26 points and 9 assists. He was responsible for more than half of the Tigers’ output against the Crimson Tide.
But as crazy as the box score numbers are, they tell just a part of…