McEachern’s Cooper wins Gatorade boys player of year award

McEachern junior point guard Sharife Cooper is the Gatorade Georgia Boys Basketball Player of the Year, the Gatorade Company announced Friday.

Cooper led the Indians to a 32-0 record and the Class AAAAAAA championship. He has averaged 27.2 points, 8.1 assists, 5.6 rebounds and 4.3 steals. He scored 20 points and had four assists in last week’s championship game against Meadowcreek.

Cooper, who has not made a college choice, will participate in USA Basketball’s Junior National Team Mini Camp in Minneapolis next month.

“Sharife is a great high school player — he is the key to McEachern’s success,” said Jesse Bonner, head coach of Kennesaw Mountain High School. “He can get anywhere on the court that he wants and can space you out with his 3-point shooting. More importantly, he makes all the players around him better.”

The Gatorade award recognizes athletic excellence but also high academic achievement and character demonstrated on and off the court. Cooper has volunteered locally as a youth mentor and as a youth basketball coach.

Recent winners of the Georgia award have been Ashton Hagans of Newton, Wendell Carter of Pace Academy, Alberique Gilbert of Miller Grove and Jaylen Brown of Wheeler.Cooper is the brother of Te’a Cooper, a former McEachern girls basketball player who was the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s girls co-player of the year for all classifications in 2015.

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