Please by all means ridicule my pun, but as I type this, former Ohio University guard DJ Cooper readies for a Friday morning workout for the Portland Trail Blazers.
MAC opponents have been terrorized for the better part of two years and their mouths left agape with some of the passes Cooper has made in his time in Athens, Ohio. Being that D.J. Cooper is not going to wow NBA scouts with his size, or consistent shooting abilities, but it is very relevant the work he has put in to become draft ready, especially putting on muscle.
Details about his progress and Portland's current PG situation can be found in this story by Matthew Doyle.
The Trail Blazers very well could lose Eric Maynor and Nolan Smith to Free Agency. Seeing as how Damien Lillard wowed opponents in a breakout rookie year that not too many expected as early as it happened, Cooper could step into a minimal back up role right away. In fact, Lillard actually lead the league in total minutes as a rookie, so it's obvious that Cooper wouldn't be expected to come in and play a large role off the bench right away.
The MAC has not been a hotbed for NBA caliber talent, but several players like Chris Kaman (Central Michigan) Wally Szczerbiak (Miami), Bonzi Wells (Ball State) and Earl Boykins (An Unrestricted Free Agent out of Eastern Michigan) come to mind as guys who have enjoyed some success at the next level in recent years. Cooper has the potential to make an impact as a reliable guy off the bench, and has shown that he is able to play with another PG on the floor (Stevie Taylor). He has the potential to be a noteworthy and solid backup for an NBA team for years to come.
The Trail Blazers with four picks, wouldn't be looking to pick up another a PG with an early pick, but don't discount the possibility of Cooper going to Portland with the 45th pick in the draft. Cooper hasn't gained a lot of acclaim as a draft prospect, but even if he does not go with that 45th pick, he will find his way into the league somehow next season.