D.J.Cooper after three triple doubles just wants “to make the game fun”

2017-04-26T16:38:07+00:00 2017-04-26T17:02:35+00:00.

Aris Barkas

26/Apr/17 16:38


While two EuroLeague tickets were decided last night in Istanbul and Vitoria, D.J.Cooper made something that noone else did this year in Europe.

By Aris Barkas/ barkas@eurohoops.net

He led with a triple double (12 p., 11 r. 18 as.) Pau Orthez to the 94-83 win over Gravelines-Dunkerque and the third place of the ProA standings.

The key number here is three. His team is third and he had his third triple double of the season while averaging 10.7 assists per game. Yes he can pass, but having three triple doubles during a season (the first at October and the second in November) is not something that goes under the radar in Europe.

While triple doubles, specially this season, were almost daily news in the NBA, in the history of EuroLeague only one player, Croatian legend Nikola Vujcic, has registered twice a triple double back in 2006 and in 2007. Of course, the French ProA is not a competition of the same level, but Cooper, who played briefly in the EuroLeague powerhouse Panathinaikos, seems ready to make the jump, play in the top European competition and – why not? – register a triple double there.

Last night you had another triple-double for Pau Orthez. And actually its your third triple-double this season. Not many players in Europe can claim to accomplish that. Do you feel like the Russel Westbrook of Europe?

“I think it’s a pretty cool accomplishment , I just play my game and I sometimes happen to fill the stat sheet”.

You are by far the top passer in France. Last year the same as well. Does the league fit you well?

“I have led the league in passing in my entire professional career so far, Greece, VTB and now France, I think Europe in general fits me well with of how the style of play is”.

You have played in Greece, France and Russia so far in your career. What are your impressions?

I think all three leagues are good leagues. The Greek league is very good basketball-wise, I think starting my professional career there helped develop my game a lot. Russia was also good for me, I played against high level guards in the majority of the games. The French league is also a very good league, well balanced and well organized . It’s an open championship, anybody can win it”.

By the numbers you are the best passer in the domestic leagues. And actually the only one who averages double-digits in assists. Is this your strongest skill?

“I think for sure it’s my strongest skill, to be able to make guys better an make the game fun for everyone around me”.

You have done very well in the Eurocup in your career, but you havent been in Euroleague until now. Is this your next goal? To play against the best players in the top level?

“For sure that’s my main goal right now in my career. It’s to play and produce at the highest level and to compete against the best players”.

You follow Euroleague obviously. What are your predictions for the Final Four and what players you enjoy watching?

CSKA, Fenerbahce, Real Madrid and Olympiacos is my prediction. I have CSKA winning it all. I enjoy watching Milos Teodosic, Sergio Llull and Tyrese Rice. They are all exciting point guards”.

Do you think that France should be represented in the EuroLeague and the Eurocup?

“I think for sure France should be. It has the quality teams to be able to compete in eurocup now. Euroleague maybe difficult at this moment”.