Northeastern guard Elijah Cooper, one of the YAIAA’s top returning seniors basketball players, has signed to play at Division II Lock Haven next year.
Cooper, a 6-foot-3 point guard, inked his letter of intent last week to join first-year coach Mike Nestor, who is attempting to rebuild the Bald Eagles program.
“I like (Coach Nestor) a lot,” Cooper said Tuesday, after Northeastern’s practice. “I visited up there a couple of times. I liked the campus and everything. I see a program and a coach that’s definitely going to be on the rise soon, and I want to be a part of that.
“It’s kind of like the situation I stepped into here. We were not good at all my freshman year. I kind of like the idea of stepping into a situation and helping a team rise.”
Cooper led Northeastern in both points (13.3) and assists (4.7) last season. He was both a YAIAA Division I/II second-team all-star selection and a member of the District 3-AAA all-tournament team.
A skilled ball-handler with a long wingspan, he will be a key part of a Bobcats team hoping to contend for a District 3-AAA title. He, along with brothers Chris and Khalid Nwandu, give the Bobcats a trio of rangy guards who can all carry the scoring load on a given night.
Cooper said he was grateful to finish up his recruiting process ahead of the start of the high school season, one that is already being accompanied by high expectations.
“We expected to be good last year, obviously, but we accomplished all of our goals,” Cooper said. “Now this year, we’re setting higher goals.
“I think we have a strong shot at winning districts. If we handle our business, if we play defense, if we make every possession count, I think we can shock a lot of people and win districts.”