On Sunday, Feb. 5, Jordan Cooper ’18 successfully made a free throw, with 26.3 seconds left in the second half of the men’s basketball game against University of Rochester, for his 1,000th point. Cooper ended the home game with 1,001 total points, racking in another point on a final free throw. The Floridian is the 32nd Judge to reach the 1,000-point plateau and just the 13th to reach the milestone in his junior year.
Heading into the weekend, Cooper needed 46 points to reach the 1,000-point mark. After scoring 28 points in the Judges’ victory against Emory University on Friday, Feb. 3, he needed to score just 18 against Rochester, a member of the UAA conference ranked #5 nationally. Though Cooper reached 1,000 points in the game against Rochester, the Judges lost 51-78, with Cooper scoring 19 of the 51 total points.
Cooper, a computer science major who has been playing basketball for as long as he can remember, said that he was not too focused on hitting 1,000 as he headed into the game, but it was definitely on his mind. “I was more focused on [playing] Rochester. It’s not every day you play a top-five team, so I was concerned mostly about them. But I’d be lying to say I wasn’t thinking about 1,000. And as shots started falling, it became harder to tune out, so I just started to roll with it,” he said.
After the first half, the Judges were facing a 27-point deficit, down 46-19. From that point on, the game’s main storyline was whether or not Cooper would hit 1,000. As Cooper recalls, “Coach had called a timeout with about three minutes left and let me know that I was three points away and to go out and get it done.”
The whole team had Cooper’s goal in mind, as they looked to set up plays to put Cooper in position to score. “My teammates called a couple plays for me and got me the ball in a position to score. After a few plays, I knew I was a point shy, and I ended up at the free-throw line. At that point, I knew it was finally going to happen,” he said.
Cooper showed his admiration for the moment and all of the people who helped make it possible. “It was a moment I’ll never forget. It meant a great deal to me to receive all the love the fans, my friends, my teammates and, most importantly, my family showed me,” Cooper reflected.
He also mentioned the importance of acknowledging everyone who had a part along the way. “It’s funny, as personal a goal as scoring 1,000 points is, I wouldn’t have even come close to it without my teammates and coaches pushing me to get better everyday … I want them to know that,” he said gratefully.
Cooper also mentioned the feeling after the final buzzer went off and the milestone had already been achieved. “It’s an awkward and humbling feeling when the game stops and everyone is acknowledging you, so I just let the memory soak in,” he said.
The Judges travel on the road this weekend to play Carnegie Mellon University and Case Western Reserve University. With the win against Emory and the loss against Rochester, the Judges fall to a 7-12 season record and a 3-6 UAA conference record.
As for the rest of the season, Cooper explained that he wants to continue “to develop the younger guys’ confidence going into the next season and to send the seniors off on a high note,” he said. “They’ve each sacrificed a great deal and represented the University as best they could on and off the court, so these final few weeks are for them to enjoy.”