The night before our interview, Sanford was soundly beaten by Tatnall and the loss was marinating. Stan Waterman, Sanford's coach, said Cooney beat him to the gym the next morning.
Cooney's both and instinctual player and cerebral competitor. Our conversation reflects his maturity and lends insight into how he values the game and sees it from a recruit's perspective.
We spent a few minutes withe pride of the First State and he candidly discussed his approach and recruiting in this question and answer session.
Cooney On Winning
Winning is a good habit to have in life. In basketball, it starts now so that it carries onto teammates, coaches, the fans … it's a good habit to have.
Winning As It Relates To High School & AAU Season I think in high school you have more fans around and support. Then you have the states and everyone wants to be the top team. With AAU, you're on a (more talented) team. It's two different things really.
With More Games, How Do You Keep The Winning Edge In The Summer?
Well, I'll be thinking about that Tatnall game for a very long time. I know that. When the summer comes I'll remember how they played me and what type of move can help me in those types of games. I'll always keep that in my mind.
You Were Shooting From The Wrong Foot & Coming Up With Different Kinds of Moves. Seems Important To You …
I'm trying to find a new thing every day really. Everyone is watching you and they see your moves. I always have to be fresh with different things so I can get a shot off during the game, get to the basket or find a teammate.
Eight Seconds Left, State Title On The Line. How Do You Score?
I would see what the defense does. Maybe I'd have it cleared out and put it through my legs. If he backs off … hit it. If not, make a move. Make another move in the lane and try and get to the rack.
Are You As Comfortable From 15 Feet As You Are From 20 Feet?
When You Workout Do You Balance Your Shot Attempts Inside The Arc?
I try and get shots everywhere. I know during the games I'm not the type of player you put on the same spot every time. I like to move around and try and get different shots off.
Schools Are Getting Serious With You. Who Has Done A Lot of Work So Far?
Villanova has, they've been down a lot. Syracuse, West Virginia, Rutgers. Those are the only ones that have been really on top of me right now. Wake Forest, they haven't been up a lot but they call a lot and so does Notre Dame.
When You're Watching A College Basketball Game, What Do You See/Look For?
It's a lot different now. I remember being younger and you're just watching the game. Now that I'm being recruited you watch different parts of the game. You watch how the players react to the coaches, how the players react to the other players.
I've been up to some ‘Nova games and I've sat right behind the bench. I just look at Jay Wright and the assistant coaches and see how they talk to their players. It's a lot different now.
You're Watching The Body Language. What Is It That Impresses You?
I see how a coach reacts to different stuff a player might do. If he forces a shot, how will the coach react? Is he the scorer? Will he take him out of the game?