McEachern High School (Powder Springs, Ga.) Sharife Cooper didn’t see the point in waiting.
Two days ago, when he arrived at Auburn just before he was set to kickoff his official visit, Cooper had a feeling that he “just couldn’t shake.”
“Ever since I got on campus, everyone addressed me as family,” Cooper said. “And it’s always been that way. I just love everything about Auburn, and I didn’t want to prolong it. I’m still in a little bit of shock because it’s a big moment for me, but this is a night I’ll never forget.”
Cooper, who picked the Tigers over Kentucky, Georgia Tech, Alabama, Florida and others, said he “surprised” Auburn coach Bruce Pearl and his assistants at dinner Friday night with the announcement.
Rankings: 2020 Chosen 25 Boys Basketball Recruiting Rankings
“Coach Pearl didn’t know what was going on,” Cooper said. “They were all in a circle and I just said, ‘I’ve got something to say…’ Then I thanked them for showing me so much love and welcoming me to the family and told them I was committing. It was funny because Coach Pearl just had this look like he was shocked and didn’t know what to do. I just gave him a hug. He was excited.”
Understandable reaction for a player of Cooper’s caliber.
The reigning ALL-USA Player of the Year, Cooper is ranked No. 2 overall in USA Today Sports’ Chosen 25 for 2020.
This past summer, Cooper dominated the competition with AOT (Georgia), averaging 25 points, eight assists and 4.5 rebounds a game.
Cooper joins North Oldham (Goshen, Kentucky) shooting guard Justin Powell to form the Tigers’ 2020 haul thus far, but if Cooper has it his way he won’t be the last Chosen 25 player suiting up for the Tigers.
“I’m a big time recruiter now,” Cooper said. “I am going after Jalen Green, Jaemyn Brakefield, Greg Brown and Cliff Omoruyi. I want them all.”
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY