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Jay Bilas' Love Affair with Ohio's D.J. Cooper Continues

ESPN's Jay Bilas already thinks Ohio's D.J. Cooper is the best passer in the nation. Now he says Cooper, and Akron's Zeke Marshall, are two of the best mid-major players in the country.

USA TODAY Sports

D.J. Cooper has had an astonishing career at Ohio University. Already he's led the 'Cats to their most successful four-year run in program history. He's also quickly climbing up the NCAA career assists and steals leader boards, currently tied for 13th and alone at 24th respectively.

Cooper, whose 'Cats are currently 20-6 (11-1 MAC), is on pace to do something no other player in Division I has ever done before: finish his career with over 2000 points, 900 assists, 500 rebounds and 300 steals. He's already achieved the steals and rebounds and is just 48 points and six assists away from achieving the other three milestones.

Cooper is currently averaging 13.7 points-per-game and 7.8 assists-per-game. At that rate he'll surpass all three milestones by the end of the start of the MAC Tournament in mid-March.

FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
2012 - D.J Cooper 26 30.8 4.3 9.8 43.8 2.0 5.8 35.3 3.1 4.5 69.0 0.5 2.8 3.2 7.8 3.6 2.2 0.2 1.5 13.7

There's no denying Cooper's put together one of the greatest college careers in NCAAB history and is finally attracting some national media attention in the twilight of his career. One member of the national sports media is leading the charge, ESPN's Jay Bilas.

Bilas already expressed his love of Cooper's passing ability back in January, naming him the best passer in the nation. Now Bilas along with ESPN cohort Chad Ford are showing Cooper more love. The pair of college basketball insiders recently named their top-five mid-major players "you don't know about." Naturally Cooper made the list.

" ... He uses his terrific vision and courage to thread needles and get the ball to the right spot at the right time, averaging 7.9 assists per game and leading the nation in assists per 40 minutes. He plays angles really well and plays both ends of the floor. Cooper has been a winner since his first day at Ohio, and he has a well-rounded game that has touched every area of the box score and record book ..."

It's behind a paywall so you won't be able to see the whole article. Cooper isn't the only MAC player getting some love though. Akron's big man has led the Zips to the nations longest winning streak (17 games) and a perfect record in the MAC.

FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
2012 - Zeke Marshall 25 26.7 4.4 6.6 65.7 0.0 0.1 50.0 3.8 5.7 66.4 2.3 4.5 6.8 0.6 1.3 0.6 3.5 2.6 12.6

" ... he provides the Zips with a real chance to score and guard in the post. Marshall is a better shot-blocker than scorer, but he is one of the most efficient players in the country," they wrote.

Two MAC players in the top five. Looks like Jay Bilas loves him some #MACtion.