Shayla Cooper, one of the nation's best

Norcross (GA) High School 2013 small forward Shayla Cooper, who plays her AAU ball with perennial power Essence Purple, is rated among the nation's top 30 players by HoopGurlz.

  • Name: Shayla Cooper
  • Classification: 2013
  • High School: Norcross (GA) High School
  • AAU Team: Essence Purple
  • Position: Small Forward
  • HT: 6-foot-1
  • Schools of Interest: Georgetown, Louisville, Miami (FL), Michigan, Mississippi State, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, South Carolina, Texas A&M (It appears all have offered)

    Shayla Cooper is ranked 28th nationally in the class of 2013 by ESPNU As of now, she is receiving recruiting attention from colleges in the northeast, the south and Texas.

    "Off the top of my head, South Carolina, Rutgers, Texas A&M, Miami (FL), Mississippi State, Louisville, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Michigan, Georgetown are the ones that I can think of that are recruiting me," said Cooper.

    Although she doesn't like talking about who has offered, it appears those as well as some others have offered the talented forward.

    While Cooper was playing for the Essence Purple AAU team during the recent Basketball on the Bayou girls AAU basketball tournament in New Orleans, over 60 college coaches were attendance watching her game, including the ones mentioned above. Cooper, a veteran of the AAU circuit, has grown used to the attention and doesn't let it affect her game.

    "I don't pay any mind to it," she said. "Maybe before the game you notice it but you don't focus on it when you are n the game. You have to block that out of your mind."

    Playing for the prestigious Essence AAU program is an honor reserved for some of the very best high school girls basketball players. Cooper explained how she wound up playing for them.

    "When I was in the 9th grade I lived in Florida and was playing with a team from Florida, the Florida Angels," she said. "My coach introduced me to Coach Kim (Essence coach Kimberly Davis-Powell) and from there it took off."

    Not only did it take off recruiting-wise, but her game has continued to improve. She talked about her overall game, both offensively and defensively.

    "The first thing I like to do offensively is get my teammates involved," she said. "I like to get myself hyped, then my team hyped. Once we all get hyped, then it's on.

    "Defensively, I like to stop my man. I talk a lot on defense, trying to help my teammates out. Sometimes Coach Kim doesn't like that because I might mess up on my side when I try to help one of my teammates. That's something that I'm working on. But it's difficult to do because I like to talk when I'm playing."

    Keep it on Gene's Page we continue to follow Shayla Cooper, one of several class of 2013 players that Mississippi State head coach Vic Schaefer has offered.

    Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the website, the source for Mississippi State sports on sports network. You can contact him by emailing

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