TA’LON COOPER A GOPHER!

Bayfieldgopher

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I don't disagree with the conclusion and I'd be perfectly fine playing more zone next year, but I don't think Cooper's issue is going to be upper body strength, he's pretty big for a guard.

As far as Morehead State's defense, yeah, they certainly switch a lot and play a lot of zone. But I'm not sure if that is a product of Cooper as much as it is of their lineups. They played a lot of small guys (at least in the small sample size of the games I watched).
He has the height and weight. But its obvious that he lacks upper body strength. Watch him as he defends dribble/drives as his upper body eventually goes vertical versus staying at 45 degree angle. He basically caves in. But that can be improved with proper weight training and coaching. My biggest concern is that he didn't seem to have the desire and instinct to belly up and play tough D, unlike a Loewe or Gabe. Willis had the same issue. Just my observation, FWIW.

Watching the video of the two Murray St games, it was obvious to me that Cooper was by far the main player doing the switching. That's not necessarily a bad thing but it does make one wonder about how much of that strategy was to cover up for his lack of D ability. Just my observation and I am just doing my thing by pointing out my concern, right or wrong.

Can he and the other newbie's fit into Ben's D basic man philosophy? Or will Ben adjust with a zone as he did when TT was on the floor? Time will tell.
 

bfriedrichs10

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He has the height and weight. But its obvious that he lacks upper body strength. Watch him as he defends dribble/drives as his upper body eventually goes vertical versus staying at 45 degree angle. He basically caves in. But that can be improved with proper weight training and coaching. My biggest concern is that he didn't seem to have the desire and instinct to belly up and play tough D, unlike a Loewe or Gabe. Willis had the same issue. Just my observation, FWIW.

Watching the video of the two Murray St games, it was obvious to me that Cooper was by far the main player doing the switching. That's not necessarily a bad thing but it does make one wonder about how much of that strategy was to cover up for his lack of D ability. Just my observation and I am just doing my thing by pointing out my concern, right or wrong.

Can he and the other newbie's fit into Ben's D basic man philosophy? Or will Ben adjust with a zone as he did when TT was on the floor? Time will tell.
We coach going vertical as your man gets closer to the basket (as long as you beat your man to the spot) because staying at a 45 degree angle and bodying up the ball handler leads to more foul calls. When you're beating your man to the spot you want to be at the 45, but once you get there you "wall up" so you can maintain verticality and avoid a blocking foul. I have no idea what video you watched but that was the first thought that comes to mind.
 

Bayfieldgopher

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We coach going vertical as your man gets closer to the basket (as long as you beat your man to the spot) because staying at a 45 degree angle and bodying up the ball handler leads to more foul calls. When you're beating your man to the spot you want to be at the 45, but once you get there you "wall up" so you can maintain verticality and avoid a blocking foul. I have no idea what video you watched but that was the first thought that comes to mind.
You may be correct. But what I saw in the two games I watched is that he never beat his man to the spot. Willis had the same problem. Going vertical is basically giving in to the offensive player and allowing him easier access to the hoop. Either way the chances are that a foul will be called on the trailing defender if there is contact.

Its all irrelevant as the coaches will work to fix it if it needs to be addressed based on their philosophy. My observation, FWIW, stands that clearly he is not a strong defender, Thus if he is Ben's PG for 30+ mpg, then it will be an issue with defending good BIG PG's unless he is coached up. Time will tell.

Take the time to watch the two Murray St. games and tell me what you see.
 

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There are a few full games of his on youtube. I think he'll be a decent defender, he's smart and much longer than an average PG. The downside, he doesn't look particularly quick.

On offense, he is fun to watch. He's the traditional PG and in the two games I watched, he would have had 3-5 more assists per game if teammates didn't blow easy baskets.
Yep, that's what I saw in his tapes. I like him but we still need a quick guard that can score off the drive. Thiam is quick, but not ready.
 

matt

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I am excited to see what our zone defense looks like next year with Cooper, Walton, and Ihnen in the mix. We have a lot of length which is great, but I am not convinced our interior defense and rebounding will be quite what we want unless Payne is ready to go on day 1.
 


bga1

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I am excited to see what our zone defense looks like next year with Cooper, Walton, and Ihnen in the mix. We have a lot of length which is great, but I am not convinced our interior defense and rebounding will be quite what we want unless Payne is ready to go on day 1.
Our interior defense will be miles better than it was last year. Ihnen, Fox, Garcia and Payne all provide length and athleticism inside that we didn't have. Unless we pick up a quick perimeter defender we might have to go zone a lot.
 

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He has the height and weight. But its obvious that he lacks upper body strength. Watch him as he defends dribble/drives as his upper body eventually goes vertical versus staying at 45 degree angle. He basically caves in. But that can be improved with proper weight training and coaching. My biggest concern is that he didn't seem to have the desire and instinct to belly up and play tough D, unlike a Loewe or Gabe. Willis had the same issue. Just my observation, FWIW.

Watching the video of the two Murray St games, it was obvious to me that Cooper was by far the main player doing the switching. That's not necessarily a bad thing but it does make one wonder about how much of that strategy was to cover up for his lack of D ability. Just my observation and I am just doing my thing by pointing out my concern, right or wrong.

Can he and the other newbie's fit into Ben's D basic man philosophy? Or will Ben adjust with a zone as he did when TT was on the floor? Time will tell.

He was 1st team All-Confernce, he couldn't have been that bad.
 

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I watched the OVC championship game and strongly disagree your opinion. He seemed to stay near Murray State's best player on droves and forced multiple missed layups due to length. Also think you're confusing who Murray's PG is.
 
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Bayfieldgopher

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I watched the OVC championship game and strongly disagree your opinion. He seemed to stay near Murray State's best player on droves and forced multiple missed layups due to length. Also think you're confusing who Murray's PG is.
I hope you are right and I am wrong!! Glad you took the time to watch and form your opinion. We will see soon.
 

Holy Man

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I hope you are right and I am wrong!! Glad you took the time to watch and form your opinion. We will see soon.
According to the Monter interview, he says defense is one of his strengths. Very hard for me to believe Ben would bring in a guy weak on defense.
 




GopherHole Staff

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New Gopher PG Ta’Lon Cooper Talks About His Decision – “Coach Johnson and the whole staff, they recruited me the hardest out of any school that recruited me.”​

By Chris Monter

 

matt

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Our interior defense will be miles better than it was last year. Ihnen, Fox, Garcia and Payne all provide length and athleticism inside that we didn't have. Unless we pick up a quick perimeter defender we might have to go zone a lot.
I absolutely agree it’ll be better. I’m just not sure if it’ll be a better than average interior defense in the B1G or if we’ll get more than our fair share of rebounds. For the record, I would be content with an average B1G interior defense next year. If one of the weakest aspects of the team is average, we’ll be in a good spot.
 

MNVCGUY

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I absolutely agree it’ll be better. I’m just not sure if it’ll be a better than average interior defense in the B1G or if we’ll get more than our fair share of rebounds. For the record, I would be content with an average B1G interior defense next year. If one of the weakest aspects of the team is average, we’ll be in a good spot.
It will be interesting to see how much the rebounding philosophy changes next season. Do to our lack of any interior presence the decision was made to abandon the offensive glass in order to get back on D quicker.

With a front court that should be able to at least compete well with what most teams can throw at us, I won't be shocked to see us put much more emphasis on battling for offensive boards and trying to get those valuable extra possessions.
 



bfriedrichs10

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You may be correct. But what I saw in the two games I watched is that he never beat his man to the spot. Willis had the same problem. Going vertical is basically giving in to the offensive player and allowing him easier access to the hoop. Either way the chances are that a foul will be called on the trailing defender if there is contact.

Its all irrelevant as the coaches will work to fix it if it needs to be addressed based on their philosophy. My observation, FWIW, stands that clearly he is not a strong defender, Thus if he is Ben's PG for 30+ mpg, then it will be an issue with defending good BIG PG's unless he is coached up. Time will tell.

Take the time to watch the two Murray St. games and tell me what you see.
I just started watching the Murray St. game on Feb 12. It looks like Cooper is tasked with face guarding Tevin Brown (Murray State's best perimeter scorer). Brown scored 7 points on 3-10 shooting from the field that day. The first few possessions Cooper is doing a great job of getting through baseline screens and making things difficult for Brown. I'll keep watching.
 

bfriedrichs10

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You may be correct. But what I saw in the two games I watched is that he never beat his man to the spot. Willis had the same problem. Going vertical is basically giving in to the offensive player and allowing him easier access to the hoop. Either way the chances are that a foul will be called on the trailing defender if there is contact.

Its all irrelevant as the coaches will work to fix it if it needs to be addressed based on their philosophy. My observation, FWIW, stands that clearly he is not a strong defender, Thus if he is Ben's PG for 30+ mpg, then it will be an issue with defending good BIG PG's unless he is coached up. Time will tell.

Take the time to watch the two Murray St. games and tell me what you see.
A minute after I say that he falls asleep on D and it leads to an open 3 for Brown 🤣(which he missed BTW).
 

bfriedrichs10

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You may be correct. But what I saw in the two games I watched is that he never beat his man to the spot. Willis had the same problem. Going vertical is basically giving in to the offensive player and allowing him easier access to the hoop. Either way the chances are that a foul will be called on the trailing defender if there is contact.

Its all irrelevant as the coaches will work to fix it if it needs to be addressed based on their philosophy. My observation, FWIW, stands that clearly he is not a strong defender, Thus if he is Ben's PG for 30+ mpg, then it will be an issue with defending good BIG PG's unless he is coached up. Time will tell.

Take the time to watch the two Murray St. games and tell me what you see.
And the next possession Murray St. runs the same play for Brown. Cooper sniffs it out, Brown goes baseline, Cooper stays on his hip, and Brown turns it over with Cooper on his hip when help comes.

On offense, Cooper is only looking to move the ball and has 2 assists. I think that will play well with our current clientele.
 


bfriedrichs10

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You may be correct. But what I saw in the two games I watched is that he never beat his man to the spot. Willis had the same problem. Going vertical is basically giving in to the offensive player and allowing him easier access to the hoop. Either way the chances are that a foul will be called on the trailing defender if there is contact.

Its all irrelevant as the coaches will work to fix it if it needs to be addressed based on their philosophy. My observation, FWIW, stands that clearly he is not a strong defender, Thus if he is Ben's PG for 30+ mpg, then it will be an issue with defending good BIG PG's unless he is coached up. Time will tell.

Take the time to watch the two Murray St. games and tell me what you see.
Tried to feed Broome on the left block from the top of the key. Horrible passing angle, defense steps in and steals it. I get the idea trying to get the ball inside up 8 early but he needs to dribble the man on the wing through to improve the angle.
 

matt

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Excellent love handles! And expired eligibility fifty years ago.
Well that complicates things. Maybe Ta’lon can be his own assistant/backup a la Dwight Schrute?
323F9CDC-EA11-4028-A1A2-7FB3E13A5D4F.jpeg
 

bfriedrichs10

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You may be correct. But what I saw in the two games I watched is that he never beat his man to the spot. Willis had the same problem. Going vertical is basically giving in to the offensive player and allowing him easier access to the hoop. Either way the chances are that a foul will be called on the trailing defender if there is contact.

Its all irrelevant as the coaches will work to fix it if it needs to be addressed based on their philosophy. My observation, FWIW, stands that clearly he is not a strong defender, Thus if he is Ben's PG for 30+ mpg, then it will be an issue with defending good BIG PG's unless he is coached up. Time will tell.

Take the time to watch the two Murray St. games and tell me what you see.
10 minute mark - weak foul called on Cooper in transition. Minimal contact, the offensive player it looked like decided to pull the ball out and Cooper was called for a block.

Impressions so far are that when he's off the ball he just needs to stay locked in and he'll be fine. I think Morehead St. is keeping him off the ball to guard taller offensive players and keep him out of foul trouble. Offensively he hasn't looked to score, which is fine by me. He wants to get the post (Broome) and their 3 point shooters looks. Not saying his game won't have warts. He's not going to be a scorer like Willis but he won't have to be with Battle and Garcia. He handles pressure well and will be able to get us into our offense and set screens to get teammates open.
 

Bob_Loblaw

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Ben is not changing defensive mindset to fit a transfer. He would not have brought him in if he didn't believe he fit our defense.
I didn't want him to change our defense to fit anyone. I was simply saying that I don't mind if we mixed in some zone defense.
 

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U of MN press release:

MINNEAPOLIS - Ta’Lon Cooper is bringing his game to the Big Ten and Williams Arena. Playing three seasons at Morehead State, Cooper will join the University of Minnesota men’s basketball program next season.

“We’re really happy to add Ta’Lon Cooper to our roster,” head coach Ben Johnson said. “Ta’Lon is a true floor general. He has really good size, good length and great feel. He knows how to deliver the ball on time, on target and has an incredible basketball IQ. He’s a great connector and his personality is contagious, which are both great qualities at that position. Ta’Lon is really efficient in all three phases: he can score, rebound and pass. He will bring a great piece to our program.”

Cooper is a 6-4 190 guard that comes to Minnesota after playing 95 career games and 52 starts for Morehead State. The Roebuck. S.C., product averaged 29 minutes, 8.1 points, 4.3 assists and shot 41 percent from the field during his Eagles career. Last season alone, Cooper was a First-Team All-Ohio Valley Conference in 2022 after he averaged 33.9 minutes, 9.1 points and 5.9 assists. His 202 assists last season ranked second all-time in program history, while his 5.9 apg ranked seventh in the NCAA. Cooper also had an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.72 and led the team in steals when he averaged 3.1 per game.

In 2020-21, Cooper played in 31 games with 11 starts and averaged 29.2 minutes, 8.2 points and 2.1 rebounds. In his 2019-20 freshman campaign, Cooper saw action in 30 games, including seven starts and averaged 7.0 ppg. He also collected OVC Freshman of the Week honors once that season and led the team in three-point field goal percentage at 39 percent.

Cooper played prep basketball with Dorman High School and AAU with the Upward Stars Upstate. With Dorman, he guided the team to state titles in back-to-back seasons in 2017-18 and 2018-19. Rated one of the top five class of 2019 stock risers, Cooper averaged 26 points, 7 rebounds 6 assists during his last AAU season.
 




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