Leader Blues

Monday, May 07, 2007

SPORTS >>NP point man signs with Lyon

IN SHORT: Quinn Cooper will take the next step at Batesville’s Lyon College later this year.

By JASON KING
Leader sportswriter

North Pulaski senior Quinn Cooper is trading in his maroon and gold for the red and white of Lyon College beginning in the fall. Cooper signed a letter of intent to play basketball at the Batesville-based university on Wednesday afternoon at the NPHS library.

North Pulaski coach Raymond Cooper could hardly hide his enthusiasm on Wednesday. As both Quinn’s head coach and father, he addressed the audience prior to the signing. His brief speech concerned the team effort involved with drawing attention to Quinn. The Falcons were dramatically improved this past season, making the 5A state playoffs after only winning two games the year before. Raymond Cooper said that without the success the Falcons shared last season, the chance for any of his players to move to the next level would most likely not have been there.

“If it wasn’t for the efforts of this team, it would have been hard for Quinn to have this opportunity,” Raymond Cooper said. “I’m excited because of what’s happening for him, but I’m also proud of the great strides this program has made.”

It wasn’t athletic prowess alone that aided Quinn to become a future Scot. His 3.1 GPA and ACT score of 25 were also major selling points to Lyon coach Kevin Jenkins. Jenkins, now in his 12th year as head basketball coach for the Scots, said that he’s looking for Quinn to be a scorer right off the bat and a leader further down the road.

“That’s something we really need, is a point guard who’s going to lead,” Jenkins said. “We think that Quinn is going to be a kid that can do that. We need someone who can step up into a leadership role, and also do what he needs to do on the floor. I feel like he fits into our program perfectly.”

Quinn will be the fourth Scot of local connections when he arrives on campus in the fall. He will join Lonoke’s Jeremy Brown, Beebe’s Johnathon Donaldson and Cabot’s Chad Glover on the team.

Lyon College has a reputation as a top-notch institution, ranked in the top 20 academically in the nation. Raymond Cooper says improvement in the classroom was another factor that made this past season a better one for his team, and one that helped Quinn go to the next level.

“He made great strides in the classroom,” Raymond Cooper said. “All of our kids have a 2.0 or better. We try to encourage all of them to go to college, whether it’s trying to get a scholarship or going to a community college, or even as a walk-on. They all bought into going to class and making the grade, and we will keep trying to get them to buy into college.”

Quinn himself was humble over the signing. The senior gave credit to his teammates before discussing his future plans, which include majoring in business administration.

“I just want to thank them,” Quinn said. “Without them, I wouldn’t have gotten this. We were committed to being a team this year; there wasn’t anyone that didn’t pull their weight. We did this together.”