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Minnesota PG Ta’lon Cooper enters 2023 NBA Draft, transfer portal


Minnesota point guard Ta’lon Cooper plans to enter his name into the 2023 NBA Draft and the transfer portal as well, according to sources. As a junior, Cooper will maintain his college eligibility.

After three seasons at Morehead State, the 6-foot-4 guard transferred to Minnesota for the 2022-23 season. With the Golden Gophers, the South Carolina native averaged 9.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 6.3 assists per game in 31 starts. He also shot 39.5% from the field and 37.8% beyond the arc.

Throughout the 2022-23 season, Cooper led his conference in minutes played per game (36.7). Additionally, the guard ranked second in the Big Ten in assists (196), second in assists per game, 15th in blocks (28), third in turnovers (83), and ninth in defensive box plus/minus (1.1).

During the 2021-22 season at Morehead State, the guard averaged 9.1 points, a career-high 4.5 boards, 5.9 assists, and 33.9 minutes per game through 34 starts. He was then selected All-OVC First Team. Cooper is classified as a 4-star transfer prospect, according to 247Sports.

Following the Gopher’s 9-22 season, Cooper is now the third prospect to exit the Minnesota program. This past Monday, the program announced NCAA transfer portal plans for true freshman guard/forward Jaden Henley and sophomore center Treyton Thompson.

Minnesota guard Ta’lon Cooper enters 2023 NBA Draft, joins teammates Jaden Henley and Treyton Thompson in the NCAA transfer portal

Henley, a graduate of Colony High School in Colony, California, expressed his gratitude to the Gophers and their coaches for recruiting him. In 31 appearances with Minnesota, the guard/forward logged 5.3 points, 2.2 rebounds, 1.3 dimes, and 20.8 minutes per contest.

“After talking with my family, I have decided to enter my name in the transfer portal and find a new home to continue my academic and athletic career,” Henley tweeted. “I look forward to the next step in my journey.”

Meanwhile, Thompson is a 7-foot sophomore from Alexandria, Minnesota. Before previous head coach Richard Pitino recruited him, the center played for La Lumiere School. Under head coach Ben Johnson, Thompson saw more playing time.

Through 20 appearances this past regular season, Thompson averaged 2.1 points and 2.4 rebounds while shooting 31.4% from the floor and 77.8% at the foul line. He missed more baskets this season, but the center excelled at grabbing boards. After the program’s 9-win season, Minnesota will have to make changes.

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