Auburn basketball: Sharife Cooper no longer a projected lottery pick

Auburn basketball Mandatory Credit: Arden Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
Auburn basketball Mandatory Credit: Arden Barnes-USA TODAY Sports /

It appears that the Sharife Cooper hype train has slowed down considerably since it left the station during Auburn basketball’s first SEC matchup with the Alabama Crimson Tide earlier this season.

That January matchup saw an Auburn team coming off of several tough losses to begin the SEC schedule after the Tigers kicked off the season with a 6-2 non-conference schedule that included a loss to still-unbeaten and top-ranked Gonzaga on the second leg of a back-to-back.

Cooper was spectacular against ‘Bama, scoring 26 points, dropping nine dimes, and even grabbing six rebounds. Though the Tigers lost that game, there was hope that the season could turn around with the 5-star recruit out of Marrieta, Georgia leading the way.

And there was, as the Auburn basketball team showed signs of life with four wins in their next five contests. Perhaps peaking with a win over then-ranked Missouri on January 26th, the 2020-21 season has only gone downhill since.

Starting with a second-half collapse against Baylor, the Tigers lost six of their next seven and clinched a losing record recently with a loss in Tuscaloosa against the Tide.

With Cooper missing the last three games and seeing his turnovers skyrocket as the SEC schedule progressed, it’s no wonder he is no longer projected to be drafted in the NBA lottery–assuming he decides to declare for the draft with his value still as a first-round pick.

Listed at the #23 spot on HoopsHype’s draft board, which was assembled by aggregating various mock drafts from around the net, Cooper is now more likely to land on an NBA franchise that needs a backup combo guard who can make things happen offensively.

The 19-year-old likely isn’t seen as someone who can anchor an NBA offense after Auburn basketball’s rough stretch in conference play…so perhaps another year on the Plains can help him repair his image.

dark. Next. Cooper used to be a lottery pick...