Meet the Ath’elite’: Jack Cooper

Jack Cooper, Basketball

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Carly Barkus

6’6” senior Jack Cooper goes up for the layup. Photo by Carly Barkus.

Ally Seevers, Sports Editor

Athlete: Jack Cooper, Class of 2021

Team: Varsity Boys Basketball

“I’ve been playing basketball since can I remember, probably since I was 9 years old,” said Cooper. “Basically, I just saw it on TV and just became interested in it. My dad also played too so he taught me the game.”

Jack is an experienced Patriot player, playing on the freshman A team and JV, then stepping up to the varsity level during his sophomore year, starting both his junior and senior year.

He has also played for many different clubs throughout his career to become the player he is today, saying, “Before high school, in 7th and 8th grade, I played for PBC [Patriot Basketball Club], and from 3rd grade to 6th grade, I played for my dad’s team called the Huskers, and 5th through 7th grade, I played for Omaha Magic.”

Number: 34

Position: Forward

Scoring almost 500 points during his varsity career, and with 148 already this year, Jack Cooper has already had an outstanding career, but to get to where he is now was not the easiest for the 6’6’’ senior.

Photo by Caden Blair

“Outside pressures have definitely affected my game in the past, but I just focused on my game and didn’t let any outside distractions affect my game,” Jack said. “Playing in the moment and trying not to think about a lot of stuff helps me stay focused. Just trying my best to keep it [the game] simple.”

One of the reasons Jack was able to overcome his distractions and play like he does today is due to the support and encouragement from his father, Todd Cooper, and the Millard South head coach, Tim Leuschen.

“My dad and coach Leuschen have both become my mentors,” Cooper said. “They both really push me every day to be the best player I can be and they’ve always been there for me and have shown a lot of support.”

“Basketball has changed my life because I’ve been able to meet teammates and if has allowed me to be close with a lot of friends on the team,” said Jack, “just spending a lot of time with them and meeting new people.”

He said his favorite thing about basketball is “probably just playing with my teammates, and pasta feeds too. Just being able to hang out with your teammates is always fun.”

Jack has made so many memories with his team of brothers, but his favorite one: the game against Creighton Prep last season. In this game, the Patriots beat the Jr. Jays, 56 to 55. Scoring 15 points in the game, Jack certainly led the team to one of the greatest and exciting victories of all time.

“My favorite memory is definitely when we played Creighton Prep at home last year. It was one of the loudest games I’d ever played in, and it was just a fun atmosphere to be in,” Cooper said.

Being such an experienced player, Cooper has not only become one of the most valued players on the team, but he has also made an impact, being a leader to all.

“Playing alongside Jack is an awesome experience,” said Jack’s younger brother and teammate, Will Cooper. “It is cool because he is my brother and he is someone I look up to. I’ll definitely miss how he leads the team once he leaves.”

Midland commit Jack Cooper has unquestionably left a mark on this team, so all that’s left is for him to do is dunk the ball.

Will Cooper said that he “would like to tell Jack to dunk the basketball in a game.” And I think we all can agree, so Jack, how about a dunk in the home game against Westside this Saturday?