HAPPY BIRTHDAY BIG STRONG JOHN! We sat down with Lakewood boys’ basketball coach Duane Cooper at the Dog House. He talked expectations for the team next year and his time as a Laker. He also reminded us how much he hates UCLA (12:37-48:14). We broke down Moore League baseball after Millikan beat Wilson (5:40-9:54). Because it’s NFL Draft week, we held a draft of our own: the first annual Chip Draft (51:44-1:01:04). As always we ended the show with the 908 Athlete of the Week. This week is Poly pitcher John Dameron (1:02:49-1:06:34).
Link to the Podcast:
Lakewood Basketball Coach and Former Laker Duane Cooper Q & A
Q: What has been the biggest accomplishment of your career so far, beating Poly on the road last year or was it sweeping UCLA during your senior year in college?
A: There is nothing like beating UCLA. I love beating UCLA because they feel like it’s their right to do certain things and we didn’t allow it, so it was a great feeling going into Poly Pavilion with all their history and then all those guys who were first round draft picks and guys who had those nice NBA careers.
Q: Who were some of those guys on that team that you beat?
A: Don MacLean, Tracy Murray, Mitchell Butler, Darrick Martin, Tyus Edney, Ed O’Bannon and Gerald Madkins.
Q: Can you describe Moore League basketball to people that don’t know it?
A: First I can say hatred is a strong, strong word. I love the Pac-10 well, I’m sorry I’m dating myself the Pac-12 but there Is nothing like beating UCLA but I don’t think we get enough credit for our conference. I think that you can say what you want but the guys coming out of that conference have really nice careers going forward oppose to a lot of those guys coming from the “quote, end quote” big conferences, we have a lot more flame outs from those guys.
Q: Would you agree the Pac-12 was a little but down this year?
A: I think the NCAA was crazy. How does USC finish second and doesn’t get invited to the tournament? And the other teams that are below them get invited to the tournament.
Q: What does the future look like in the Moore League and for your squad going forward?
A: I think the Moore League is going to be a toss-up. I think we have as good a chance as anyone. The Moore League is a different beast, we are always telling the kids during the tournament season you can’t be shaken by dudes talking to you, dudes pushing on you, by dudes saying stuff to you, you just got to play.
Q: Were you a Lakers fan growing up?
A: I was. When I grew up that was the height of “Showtime” so absolutely I was a Laker fan.
Q: So when you got drafted by the Lakers how did that feel?
A: That was awesome. You know when I got drafted I was actually in the bathroom. They went to a commercial break and when they came back they said these guys were drafted while you were gone. Hubie Brown was like I have no idea who this guy is but I’m sure Jerry West did his due diligence so I’m sure he’s ok.
Q: Were you sitting down or standing up in the bathroom?
A: Oh no I was standing up.
Q: What was that experience like playing in the league?
A: My first game, the first preseason game we were getting dressed to go to the game we were in Hawaii and I had Magic Johnson, AC Green, James Edwards, Sam Perkins, I knew Elden Campbell from playing against him in Slam and Jam and so I knew all these guys and I was like man I remember coming to you guys at parades. Some people took offense to that, especially James. It was a dream come true you know, I felt like a lot of my work had paid off because I didn’t go to USC thinking I was going to be in the NBA. I went to USC thinking if I got my degree I would be ok in Southern California.
Q: What was your most memorable game?
A: I think it would probably be the Atlanta Hawks game at home. Sedale got in foul trouble so I got some extended playing time. So I got 21 minutes that game and I almost had a double-double in assists and points.
Q: What position did you play?
A: Now I would say guard for sure because it was position less basketball.
Q: What is your least favorite part about the NBA right now?
A: I think you have to evolve. I think that everybody who watches NBA basketball, I think they have to be careful especially if you’re a coach, where everybody thinks that they can shoot threes and everybody’s not a good three-point shooter. If you don’t know what you’re good at you can’t be a good basketball player.
Q: Who’s going to win it this year?
A: Golden State.
Q: How did it feel to have the Yakima Sun Kings want you back?
A: Yakima was a good time. We won a lot of games, we won a championship. It gave me a chance to play with one of my high school buddies, Kevin Howland.
Q: Where is Yakima?
A: Yakima is on the other side of Mt. Rainier.
Q: Did you play overseas?
A: I did. I had a good time, I think the ultimate goal and ultimate dream is to play in the NBA but when you go overseas and you go with an open mind I think that the best kind of education you can get is by traveling.
Q: Was Harold Miner the best player you ever played with?
A: I was on a team with Magic Johnson. I was on a roster with Charles Barkley, Kevin Johnson, Dan Marley.
Q: What is wrong with high school basketball players these days?
A: I just wish they had a more realistic view of how good they are. I wish the parents had a more realistic view of how good their child is. I wish that they could have a little more humility.
Q: Do you still play ball?
A: I hate that they stopped the Drew League but I still run around a little bit.
Q: What do kids do to get in your dog house?
A: Inconsistency, always making excuses. When I have to tell the same kid something over and over that bugs me.
Q: You got a cool nickname?
A: Because I don’t drink everybody would always ask me to go places. They would always go you can drive my car and so it was kind of like I was known as an uncle. So I was known as Uncle.
Q: What is the most hot dogs you have ever eaten in one sitting?
A: Probably three.
Q: What is your toughest loss ever?
A: My last college game.
Q: What is your biggest pet peeve?
A: When you have to tell someone something over and over.
Q: Least favorite team in the Moore League?
A: Probably would be Poly.
Q: What is your favorite punishments at practice?
Q: IF you were to shop at JC Penny what would you get?