Catching up with future Cowboy Kenneth Cooper

Kenneth Cooper, a 6-foot-10 center from Richwood High School in Monroe, La., is featured in this the final installment of a series on the five high school players who signed with Oklahoma State in November.

Cooper has been a dominant force this season for the Richwood Rams who are 24-8 and ranked second in Class 3A in Louisiana.

"Kenneth has been playing well," said Richwood head coach Terry Martin. "He's making a lot of progress and playing a lot better." Martin said that Cooper is averaging nearly 20 points, 15 rebounds and 4 blocks a game for the Rams, although he did not suit up for Friday night's win over Carroll after being suspended from school a day earlier in the week.

Cooper has had a couple of 30-point performances and also had eight blocked shots in one game early in the season, Martin said.

"He had a couple 30-point games where he was just unstoppable inside," Martin said. "He doesn't see many people as tall as he is. I think we've seen some guys maybe 6-7, 6-6 this season but nobody as tall as him.

"He's shown a lot of leadership this season. He's hitting the boards on both ends of the court and offensively he's really picked up his game. He's making some strong moves inside, where he either scores or scores and gets fouled. He's made a lot of (conventional) three-point plays this season."

Martin said that Cooper needs to improve his outside shooting – although he doesn't get that opportunity in games – and also needs to work on staying out of foul trouble.

"He has a real nice touch shooting the ball but we don't need him outside," Martin said. "In our offense, we attempt to attack the other team's weakness and go to our strength. It makes sense that we don't need to set up outside and try to hit a lot of three-pointers when we can drop the ball inside to him and let him score.

"He does have a nice shooting touch, though, and is capable of playing out on the wing if he spends some time working on his shot. In high school, we've determined that the place he can help us the most is inside and we've asked him to concentrate on that."

Cooper has only fouled out of one game this season but has run into foul trouble a few times, Martin said.

"We've talked about how it's important for him to stay out of foul trouble and stay in the game," Martin said. "We've talked about how it's not important to get blocked shots sometimes because just his defense presence in there will be just as much help to the team as getting the block. He can alter the other team's offense and their game by just being a presence in the middle, and he's learning how to do that."

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