Point guard Te'a Cooper commits to Lady Vols

Te’a Cooper

Te’a Cooper

A social gathering in suburban Atlanta Thursday night became a cause for celebration in Knoxville.

Te’a Cooper, one of the top women’s basketball prospects in the Class of 2015, convened friends and family at a SkyZone in Kennesaw, Ga. With trampolines as a backdrop and MTV filming for a future episode of its reality show “True Life,” the 5-foot-8 point guard pulled on a Tennessee shirt as her way of announcing that she was committing to the Lady Vols.

Her decision was conveyed via social media by several sources. Friend and workout partner Diamond DeShields tweeted a photo and said, “Lookin good in orange baby girl wow I’m so happy right now this is crazy.”

Cooper is ranked No. 5 in her class by the All-Star Girls Report. Bret McCormick, who evaluates talent for the report, has watched Cooper grow up on the court.

“I saw her in the sixth grade at Carson-Newman,” he said. “She was a great player then.

Video from YouTube

“I think she’s a phenomenal scorer, player and passer. She’s hungry. She works hard.”

Cooper, who is ranked 12th by ESPN HoopGurlz, has played three varsity seasons at McEachern High School in Powder Springs, Ga., and has started 60 career games. She averaged 19.6 points, six assists, five rebounds and five steals per game last season for the Indians, who won the 6A Georgia state championship for the team’s second title in three years.

Last month, Cooper was one of 12 players to make USA Basketball’s U-17 World Championship team. She will be playing for the first time on a U.S. team June 28 through July 6 in the Czech Republic.

Cooper initially committed to North Carolina as an eighth grader but reopened her recruitment last summer. Georgia, South Carolina, Pitt and Duke were the other college favorites listed in her USA Basketball profile.

“I just think she has a scorer’s mentality,” McCormick said. “She has a great crossover. She can take people off the dribble and get to the hoop. Her (outside) shot is solid, not great but it’s improved.

“I wouldn’t call her a shooter. I’d call her a scorer.”

The Lady Vols hope Cooper is a persuasive recruiter as well. DeShields announced in April that she was transferring from North Carolina after one season. She’s since visited Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina but has yet to choose a new school.

DeShields helped promote Cooper’s announcement, urging people to attend. But DeShields has resisted attempts to link her impending decision to Cooper’s. In advance of Thursday’s event, DeShields on Tuesday tweeted: “Te’a Cooper is committing on Thursday NOT ME. Just to clear that whole thing up.”

Along with Cooper, Jackson, a 5-10 guard from Blackman High in Murfreesboro, picked the Lady Vols last February.

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Comments » 16

ATL_VOL_FAN writes:

Great News! Bring your DIAMOND with you!

MikeNPS writes:

Outstanding!

ModelMaker writes:

This is great news! I have seen Te'a Copper play and she is the real deal. If the Diamond comes in also I would go so far as to say it would be the biggest recruiting coup since Parker & Hornbuckel. What a combo they would make. Congratulations to Holly and her staff.

scvols writes:

BOOM!

MaxVolFan writes:

With the loaded team we have and have coming in the pressure is on this coaching staff to be at a elite level again. The lady Vols has never had this much talent at one time. We have landed about 10 top 25 in the country the pass 3-4 yrs . This program is ready to hang banners. I think the team should forget about the slogans, forget about the pressure of being TN, and play hungry every single game. Man I'm excited. And to think if we get Diamond that would be the type of player where as a coach you can just let her run the team. We haven't had a special player on quite some time. Example Odyssey Sims, Skylar Dig, Maya Moore, Candace Parker . Players that were unstoppable every single game.

Theo writes:

Stand Up! Indeed!

RLL59 writes:

Another elite high school player. The tradition continues. Go, Lady Vols.

RockyTop1 writes:

Can't wait to see you next year in Orange! Go Lady VOLS!!! HOLLY, now go get us a DIAMOND...

ljlongtimevolfan writes:

Congratulations on Cooper but stay away from DeShields. We just got ride of one self promoting overrated player in Simmons. She will cause more unrest, dissension, distractions and disruptions amongst the team than she is worth. We need quality team players not rogue self promoting players.

johnwoodward48#1427254 writes:

I notice that the team formerly known as he UConn Lady Huskies (now known as the ESPN annex team) have the #1,5, and #10 ranked players in the HoopGurlz 2015 class. That said, what I am really hoping is that Russell will be able to step up a lot more as a sophomore, that Graves will get past her sophomore jinx, and return to double/double land, and that Tucker's knee surgery won't cut down on her speed. Hopefully, Jaimee Nared can also impact to the degree you want to see from a #5 rated in the country 98 pointer.

Theo writes:

in response to ljlongtimevolfan:

Congratulations on Cooper but stay away from DeShields. We just got ride of one self promoting overrated player in Simmons. She will cause more unrest, dissension, distractions and disruptions amongst the team than she is worth. We need quality team players not rogue self promoting players.

This comment is an insult to both players. MS gave her all every game in her assigned role as a scorer. She definitely had hot and cold games but to say she was self promoting or overrated is just ignorant. She is a VFL, was a good student and a good person.
As far as DeShields. You don't know jack about her other than what the bitter UNC fans are saying. If she wants to come to a program, like UT, that has a bigger and more vocal fan base than UNC how does that make her disruptive? I believe we have had a few players in our past who like the spotlight and they brought home natties (Parker, Holdsclaw, Marciniac). Nothing wrong with having a little swagger.

underthehill writes:

DeShields had games when everything went her way and she was fine..she was not tough when the going got tough..she laid on the floor and had to be helped off several times..then all of a sudden she was ok and ready to come back in..then if she missed a shot or two she was hurt again..not the kind of attitude you see in a winner..talented..yes ..is it worth the problems she will cause..that is a fair question..

ModelMaker writes:

in response to underthehill:

DeShields had games when everything went her way and she was fine..she was not tough when the going got tough..she laid on the floor and had to be helped off several times..then all of a sudden she was ok and ready to come back in..then if she missed a shot or two she was hurt again..not the kind of attitude you see in a winner..talented..yes ..is it worth the problems she will cause..that is a fair question..

Would you rather have her go to South Carolina? If she did I would think that would all but seal a SC championship with them getting White and Wilson also.

ATL_VOL_FAN writes:

in response to underthehill:

DeShields had games when everything went her way and she was fine..she was not tough when the going got tough..she laid on the floor and had to be helped off several times..then all of a sudden she was ok and ready to come back in..then if she missed a shot or two she was hurt again..not the kind of attitude you see in a winner..talented..yes ..is it worth the problems she will cause..that is a fair question..

I watched her play throughout the year and she is the real deal. She played hurt for the majority of the season (including post season play). There were times when she was hurt, yet she came back out on the court and helped her team. We need her to wear ORANGE!

johnlg00 writes:

We all need to bear in mind that what we see of a player on the court, especially one who plays for a team we don't see much, is only a small part of who he or she is as a person or even as an individual player or as a teammate. I trust Holley and staff to carefully weigh every possible addition to the team, not only for her talent and potential as a player but also how she will fit in with the other players and the attitude the program as a whole is trying to instill. Great players come with all kinds of personalities in terms of surface personas and what kind of coaching and team environment they respond to. Holly has been around long enough to have seen several very good LV players who just turned out not to be good fits with the program. Hopefully, she has learned how to spot potential "problem children" and either steer clear of them altogether or come up with a viable plan for dealing with them. She has to know that she has a wealth of talent and experience on hand right now, and how she handles that group will affect both the type of players attracted to the LV program and the type of players the program wants to bring in in the future.

MaxVolFan writes:

How many Scholly will we have available for 2015? Could we still get three more like Deshields, Durr, or Kalani Brown/Caliya Robinson?

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