The College Park Skyhawks have lost their last four games, and with the All-Star break approaching, this will be a good time for them to regroup as they come back to finish the season. Despite the four-game skid, Sharife Cooper elevated his game this week, putting up two impressive performances in back-to-back games.
In the Skyhawks loss on Monday against the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, Sharife Cooper was the leading scorer of the game with 33 points. Cooper did most of his work in the paint, where he was able to connect on a few floaters and get into the lane.
Cooper was 4-of-9 from the field and also finished with eight assists and eight rebounds.
Cooper followed that performance up with a 30-point triple-double against the Maine Celtics on Thursday. He was once again attacking the defense by driving into the lane, scoring a career-high 37 points.
He finished with 11 assists, as one of his biggest strengths is his ability to find his teammates. Cooper continued to put pressure on the Celtics defense in multiple ways.
These were unquestionably two of the best performances from Cooper this season, and hopefully, this is a turn in the right direction for him to finish off the season.
While Cooper was playing in College Park, Jalen Johnson was with the Hawks as insurance with John Collins being held out the last three games due to a heel injury. Johnson was able to get some minutes against the Orlando Magic, and our own Glen Willis broke down a few of his defensive plays.
Loved this from Jalen— Glen Willis (@willis_glen) February 17, 2022
stays between the ball handler and rim (/ some help from Delon)
helps back - after Delon gets beat recovering back, steps up to protect the rim and gets strip block
You can tell he anticipated needing to help Delon - stayed right there
Great processing pic.twitter.com/bizCUcFEF2
More excellent help from Jalen— Glen Willis (@willis_glen) February 17, 2022
He sees Mays is dealing with a ball handler coming at full speed
Impressive that he gets to the spot
Even more impressive that he leaves space for Gorgui to help
(Hawks normally want a wing to close to baseline and a big to close to rim) pic.twitter.com/CvxyxeuRcz
Iggy isn't the most dynamic guy with the ball but still wanted to show this— Glen Willis (@willis_glen) February 17, 2022
Good technique, sliding well
Challenge the shot with the left hand up high, doesn't bring it down and make contact for the foul pic.twitter.com/BjsaPT0BCX
Altogether, it looked like an impressive week for both rookies as they finished the week strong in both of their assignments. It’s still going to be tough for either Cooper or Johnson to crack the Hawks’ rotation at any point this season, but the signs of progression are there.