Basketball: Cooper Officially Gone

Kenny Cooper, who has been rumored to be leaving the Oklahoma State basketball program for weeks, has officially left the school and the basketball team, Cowboy head coach Sean Sutton said Friday.

The 6-foot-10 junior-to-be reportedly enrolled at Louisiana Tech on Friday, according to reports from the Shreveport Times newspaper. If true, Cooper will have to sit out one season and will be eligible to play in 2008.

Cooper, from Monroe, La., returned to his home in Louisiana after summer school, and was hospitalized after getting ill. He returned to Stillwater in mid-August, but was forced to return home by his mother, and never returned to Oklahoma State.

"Kenny has chosen to leave our team," Sutton said in a news release from the OSU media relations office. "It was a tough decision for him, and it was a lengthy process. But eventually, it boiled down to him wanting to play closer to home.

"His family wanted the opportunity to see him play more, and he felt an obligation to his mom and his brothers to be closer to them."

Cooper started 11 games for the Cowboys during the 2006-07 season, and averaged 4.7 points and 3.1 rebounds.

"This is a tough loss for our program," Sutton said. "We all think very highly of Kenny. He's a tremendous young man who has worked extremely hard in the classroom and has made a lot of improvement on the court. We were counting on him to play a significant role on this year's team.

"We really believe he was on the verge of reaching his full potential as a basketball player, and he was making excellent progress towards his degree. My staff and I wish him great success at whichever institution he chooses to transfer to and are disappointed he has made this decision."

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