2022 McDonald’s All-American Cooper Inks With Lady Vols

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Tennessee women’s basketball head coach Kellie Harper announced that she has received an SEC Grant-in-Aid (GIA) and Institutional Financial Aid Agreement (IFAA) from transfer Talaysia Cooper.

A 2022 McDonald’s All-American and five-star prospect, Cooper played as a freshman at South Carolina last season. Transferring outside the NCAA’s portal window, she will enroll at UT for the fall semester and sit out the 2023-24 season.

“We are thrilled to welcome Talaysia to our Lady Vol family,” UT head coach Kellie Harper said. “We recruited her heavily when she was in high school and are very familiar with the quality of person and player we are getting. We look forward to Talaysia blending with our current team, learning the system, working hard and preparing herself to become an active contributor as a redshirt sophomore in 2024-25.”

Cooper, a 6-foot guard from Turbeville, S.C., is a graduate of East Clarendon High School and was a five-star recruit ranked No. 4 at her position and No. 18 overall in the 2022 HoopGurlz espnW 100. In addition to collecting McDonald’s honors in 2022, she was named the South Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year in 2021 and was a three-time state player of the year after scoring more than 3,000 points at ECHS. Cooper earned SCBCA 1A accolades in 2021 and 2022, and she was chosen as the SCBCA 2A Player of the Year honoree in 2019.

Last season at South Carolina, Cooper appeared in 24 of 37 total games on a deep and talented Gamecocks squad. She averaged 2.9 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 8.4 minutes per contest and produced a positive assist-to-turnover comparison of 30 to 18. She also was named to the First-Year SEC Academic Honor Roll for her efforts in the classroom.

Cooper played her best basketball over a three-game stretch from Dec. 18 to 29 against Charleston Southern, Coastal Carolina and Texas A&M. She averaged 12.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.7 steals in 17 minutes of action per contest during that span.

She hit five of eight shots from the field and three of five from the free-throw line to tally 14 points in the first of those contests to go along with three assists, three steals, a rebound and a block in 18 minutes vs. CSU. After tallying nine points and six boards in nine minutes vs. Coastal, Cooper notched a career-best 15 points along with five rebounds, two assists and a steal in 19 minutes vs. the Aggies on Dec. 29.

Overall, she made appearances in eight SEC contests, two games of SEC Tournament and four NCAA Tournament outings. Her season highs included 15 points vs. A&M, seven rebounds vs. Hampton (11/27/22), five assists vs. Cal Poly (11/22/22), three steals vs. Charleston Southern (12/18/22) and one blocked shot vs. three different opponents.

Cooper becomes the fifth player from the Palmetto State to join the program. Jasmine Phillips of Hartsville was the most recent, hailing from Hartsville and arriving via the junior college route in 2013.

In his assessment of Cooper, ESPN high school recruiting analyst Dan Olson described her as being “explosively athletic with a scorer’s mentality…elusive off the dribble…an electric 3-level offensive threat that oozes potential…a pesky defender.”

Source: UT Sports

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