His Glenbrook South team was off to a 3-11 start last winter, and sick of losing, the 6-foot-8, 210-pound junior forward called for a team meeting.
"I held a team meeting, and said if we're going to win as a team, other people need to step up, and that's what happened," the Glenview, Ill., product explained. "I'd score my 25 points a game, but nobody else would help. But at the end of the season, I'd score my 25 points, and two guys would have 15, and another with 10 points."
Cooley and his teammates rallied to finish the season on an 11-3 run, evening their record for the campaign.
"Our team really got together and we played more as a team."
After two rough seasons on the varsity, Cooley is looking forward to a winning season to end his prep career this coming year.
"Next year we're going to be really good," Cooley stated. "We finally have a point guard, which we've needed for forever."
Take a look at Cooley, and he looks like a Notre Dame basketball player.
There is an obvious resemblance between Cooley, and Irish star Luke Harangody.
"After I committed, everyone was saying wait a minute," Cooley laughed.
"At the top-100 camp (hosted by the NBPA), all the players gave me so much (stuff) for that the whole week. They were asking me if I got my haircut at the same place as him, or if I'm related to him. I get comparisons with him all the time."
Cooley and Harangody haven't been able to talk about it themselves. The latest two times Cooley has been on Notre Dame's campus, Harangody hasn't been around.
While Cooley finds it funny that people get a kick out of his twin-like look to the reigning Big East Player of the Year, he'd like his game to develop the same way Harangody's has on the collegiate level.
"I hope to get there," Cooley said. "He has that knockdown from the elbow that is unbelievable, and he shot those threes against Louisville. He is a really good player. My jumper is okay.
"I'm just really physical. I just go out there and my goal is to win the game. I don't care what my stats look like, and I'll do whatever that takes to happen. I'll try as hard as I can every game, and coach (Mike) Brey likes that."
Brey keeps in touch with Cooley on a regular basis, as does the rest of the Irish staff.
"(Coach Brey) just told me he is losing three out of his four current bigs, Luke will be the only one left, and they'll need me," Cooley said.
Cooley has formed a close bond with fellow Notre Dame class-of-2009 commit Joey Brooks. The two talk on nearly a daily basis, and will both visit South Bend on an official visit, when the Irish football team plays Michigan on Sept. 13th.
This summer, Cooley's been playing hard on the AAU circuit. He took his game to the Peach Jam in North Augusta, S.C., earlier this month, and he'll trek to Orlando today to play in an AAU showcase and then AAU Nationals a week later.
"I'm just trying to hone my skills and try to learn more about how to play, to help bring back to my high school team," Cooley explained. "I'm also trying to make Notre Dame proud. They offered me and I committed. I'm trying my hardest to make them look good and me look good. I don't want to embarrass anybody."