Earlier this week, Atlanta Hawks backup point guard Sharife Cooper sat down for an interview with Maria Martin of 11Alive News. As is always the case with Martin's interviews, she asked the right questions, which later led to a very cool moment online.
As you can see in the video tweeted above, Cooper had high praise for the Hawks starting point guard Trae Young. Cooper said, "That's probably one of the best players I've watched, honestly. Seeing his skill level, his shot-making ability, I enjoyed watching every step of this year. The way he carries himself."
Cooper wasn't done heaping praise on his mentor. "It was a great learning experience for me, watching somebody, a point guard, a young guy that is an All-Star in this league. He's everything everybody believes him to be. One of the best players I've watched for sure."
Yesterday, Cooper quote-tweeted the segment and reiterated that he doesn't often dish out praise like that. Young saw the tweet and said, "Game Recognize Game! You already know know (sic) what it is Killa."
We love to see it. Cooper stands to learn a lot from playing behind Young. The 20-year-old just finished his rookie season on a two-way contract. Cooper split time between the Hawks and their G-League affiliate, the College Park Skyhawks.
Despite being selected in the second round of the 2021 NBA Draft with the 48th overall pick, Cooper finished 88th among rookies in total minutes played (39). He finished the season with humble traditional stats, but he averaged 6.5 points and 4.6 assists per 36 minutes, according to Basketball-Reference.
Since Cooper was a second round draft pick, he will become an unrestricted free agent following the 2022-23 season. The Hawks internal development over the years has been hit-and-miss, but having served as the apprentice to an All-Star point guard will pay dividends throughout Cooper's career. There's no doubt that Cooper has a spot in the NBA for years to come. Let's just hope it's in Atlanta.
The 2022 NBA draft is June 23, and free agency begins on July 1. Additionally, we should expect to see Cooper and fellow 2021 Draft classmate Jalen Johnson play in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas in mid-July. It's sure to be an eventful summer in Atlanta, so stay locked into AllHawks.com.
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