Trevor Cooney knows the Andy Rautins comparisons are inevitable. They’re about the same size, have in the gym range and are highly valued by Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim. But the Wilmington, Del., native isn’t settling for a pre-determined fate. While he admits the Rautins comparisons are flattering, the high school junior has his own goals. We caught up with him this weekend at the Boo Williams Invitational following a tough loss to E1T1 Elite (featuring Austin Rivers) to discuss his AAU team, his Syracuse future and some of his other interests.
Dime: Team Final (featuring Cooney, Michael Gilchrist and Rakeem Christmas) was sort of considered a favorite in this tournament, but you guys had a rough night. How disappointing was it?
Trevor Cooney: It was very disappointing to come out with a loss. But we didn’t bring it today, and in this league, you have to bring it every night. Every team is good. Every team has players, and every team on a given day can beat anyone really. And they definitely brought it harder than us today, and that’s why they won.
Dime: How tough was it matching up with Austin Rivers?
TC: He showed his stuff today, obviously. He’s very tough to guard, and he made his shots, so he was obviously very tough today.
Dime: What’s it like playing with Mike Gilchrist and Rakeem Christmas?
TC: Those two guys are unbelievable, really. These are top guys, and we have a couple of those guys on this team, playing for (coach) Rob Brown, it’s an awesome experience, and I’m just happy to be a part of it.
Dime: You just committed to Syracuse a little over a month ago. What ultimately led you to that decision?
TC: I chose Syracuse probably because I just had the best relationship with the coaches they had. It also felt the most comfortable of all the schools. Each time I went up there, it just got better and better.
Dime: How much of the team’s success this year really factored in to your decision?
TC: None really. I mean, they showed what they could do this year, but when it came down to it, I had the best relationship with their coaches, and that’s where I felt the most comfortable. And I think it’s also a place where I can get better as a player.
Dime: What role do you see yourself taking on at Syracuse? Obviously, the comparisons to Andy Rautins are going to come. Do you see yourself as him?
TC: I don’t really see myself as him, but I guess people will try to compare us. I just want to try to be a combo guard. A 1-2 kind of and try be more active with the ball and try to bring it up and start the offense.
Dime: How surprised were you to see them lose to Butler?
TC: I was very surprised. But Butler’s a great team. Obviously they went to the championship. But I was surprised, definitely, to see them lose so early.
Dime: What type of relationship do you have with the players there now?
TC: I’m pretty cool with some of them. I’m pretty cool with Andy.
Dime: Have you spoken to Fab Melo at all?
TC: I haven’t spoken to Fab Melo. I’ve spoken to C.J. (Fair) and Dion (Waiters) a lot.
Dime: How important would making the McDonald’s game be to you?
TC: It’s definitely a goal. It’s something that I’ve worked for every day, and it’d be a great accomplishment to be a part of that group and a part of that class really. I mean, it’d be outstanding.
Dime: When did you first start playing ball?
TC: I first started, as far as I can remember, at the YMCA league probably in first or second grade.
Dime: What are some of your interests other than basketball? What do you do in your free time?
TC: I just like hanging out with my friends. I like to watch baseball, stuff like that.
Dime: What are you gonna to try to work on your senior year so you can step on the court and have an immediate impact at Syracuse?
TC: In college, you have to be pretty much good at everything. I’m definitely gonna get in the weight room more often, definitely gonna work on my shot, dribbling, defense and just everything.
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