97.7 FM The Zone ESPN Tennessee Valley

LIVE ON-AIR Studio Line:


Forgot Password

Not a Member? Sign up here!

Listen Live

Local Sports Stories Archives for 2021-07

Auburn's Cooper, Thor selected in 2021 NBA Draft

Cooper, Thor selected in 2021 NBA Draft


AUBURN, Ala. – Auburn’s Sharife Cooper and JT Thor both were chosen in the 2021 NBA Draft Thursday night. Thor was selected by the Charlotte Hornets with the 37th overall selection, while Cooper was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks with the No. 48 pick.


Following the selections, the Tigers have had four players drafted in the last three seasons under head coach Bruce Pearl, joining first-round selections Chuma Okeke (No. 16 in 2019) and Isaac Okoro (No. 5 in 2020). Auburn’s four draftees since 2019 matches the program’s total number of selections from the previous 25 years.


Thor is the second Tiger to be drafted by the Hornets, joining Jeff Moore, who was taken with the 58th selection of the 1988 NBA Draft. Cooper is the second Auburn player to be taken by the Hawks, joining Eddie Johnson, who was chosen with the 49th pick in the 1977 NBA Draft.


Thor started all 27 games during the 2020-21 season for the Tigers and averaged 9.4 points, five rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 23 minutes per contest.


The Anchorage, Alaska native shot 44 percent from the floor, including 30 percent from downtown, and shot 74 percent from the free throw line.


Thor scored in double figures 15 times during his freshman season, including 11 of his last 16 games, and pulled down at least five rebounds 16 times, including seven straight to close out the year.


On Feb. 13 at Kentucky, Thor became the only freshman in the last decade to post a stat line of 24 points and nine rebounds inside Rupp Arena. He is one of just four players overall to do that since at least 2010.


Thor, who was a five-star in the 2021 class before reclassifying to join Auburn prior to the 2020-21 season, was one of five freshmen in the country with at least 250 points, 100 rebounds and 30 blocks on the year.


Despite playing in just 12 games in an Auburn uniform, Cooper made an impact on the court averaging 20.2 points, 8.1 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game during the 2020-21 campaign. He is one of just two players in the country to average 20 points and eight assists per game in the last 25 years, joining his future teammate Trae Young (Oklahoma).


Cooper became one of two Tigers to have three point-assist double-doubles in a season since the assist became an official NCAA statistic prior to the 1983-84 season. Moochie Norris had three such games during the 1994-95 season.


The Powder Springs, Ga. native scored or assisted on 471 of Auburn's 996 points with him in the lineup (47.3 percent). His 8.1 assists per game set a single-season program record, breaking current assistant coach Wes Flanigan's mark of 6.7 dimes per contest.


Cooper, who was picked to the Southeastern Conference All-Freshman team, was a consensus 5-star and top-20 prospect out of McEachern High School. He became the third McDonald's All-American to sign with Auburn, joining Frank Ford (1983) and Korvotney Barber (2005).



Alabama's Joshua Primo and Herbert Jones Each Selected in 2021 NBA Draft Thursday Night

Alabama’s Joshua Primo and Herbert Jones Each Selected in 2021 NBA Draft Thursday Night

Primo selected 12th overall, Jones goes in early-second round to mark the first time since 1995 that two Alabama players were selected in the same draft


TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Two Alabama men's basketball players were selected in the 2021 NBA Draft, which was held in Brooklyn, N.Y., at the Barclays Center on Thursday night. Guard Joshua Primo was a first round selection of the San Antonio Spurs at No. 12 overall and guard/forward Herbert Jones went No. 35 to the New Orleans Pelicans


It was a night of firsts for the Crimson Tide program. Primo’s selection gave Alabama back-to-back NBA Draft Lottery picks for the first time in program history, while it was also the first time since 1995 that UA had two players selected in the same draft. That year, Antonio McDyess went No. 2 overall to the L.A. Clippers and Jason Caffey was the 20th overall pick by the Chicago Bulls. The Tide has now had consecutive first round draft picks for the first time in 25 years (1995 and 1996).


Alabama In The NBA Draft

  • Primo and Jones became the 44th and 45th Alabama players to hear their name called on draft night
  • The Crimson Tide has had a guard drafted in the NBA Draft Lottery in three of the last four years (Collin Sexton No. 8 overall to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2018, Kira Lewis Jr. No. 13 overall to the New Orleans Pelicans in 2020)
  • Primo became the 17th UA player to be selected in the first round and the eighth who was drafted inside the top 15
  • It was the 11th time Alabama has had two players selected in the same draft in program history


Joshua Primo Bio

  • Selected No. 12 overall to the San Antonio Spurs
  • Became fifth consecutive Alabama rookie to be named to the SEC All-Freshman Team
  • Played in 30 contests on the season, missing three games with an MCL sprain, making 19 starts
  • Averaged 8.1 points and 3.4 rebounds per game while shooting 43.1 percent from the field and 38.1 percent from beyond the arc
  • Ranked third on the team in three-point field goal percentage, second in free throw percentage and fifth in scoring
  • Named SEC Freshman of the Week for the week of Jan. 25, earning the accolade after averaging 19.0 points, 5.0 threes made and 3.5 rebounds per game in contests at LSU and vs. Mississippi State, while shooting 73.7 percent (14-of-19) from the floor and 76.9 percent (10-of-13) from beyond the arc
  • Finished with 12 games in double figures including eight games of making three or more three-pointers which ranked second-best on the team
  • Had season high 22 points including career-best marks of 4-of-8 from beyond the arc and 8-of-8 from the free throw line, to go along with five boards and three assists in the win at Auburn (1/9)
  • Matched that with 22 points at LSU (1/19), knocking down a career-best six three-pointers in the victory
  • Scored 19 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field and 4-of-5 from beyond the arc in the win over Mississippi State (1/23)
  • Had 19 points, all coming in the second half, in the win over Georgia (2/15)
  • SEC First Year Academic Honor Roll


Herbert Jones Bio

  • Selected No. 35 overall to the New Orleans Pelicans
  • Marked the second consecutive year the Pelicans have drafted an Alabama player, taking Kira Lewis Jr. at No. 13 overall in the first round of the 2020 NBA Draft
  • Named AP All-American (Third Team), SEC Player of the Year, SEC Defensive Player of the Year, First Team All-SEC and All-Defensive Team
  • Finished his career with 129 games played (101 starts) while collecting 947 points, 630 rebounds, 285 assists, 167 steals and 98 blocked shots
  • Subsequently named to the All-SEC First Team (Coaches, AP and USA Today) and All-SEC All-Defensive Team
  • Named as a finalist for the Naismith Award Men’s Defensive Player of the Year
  • Earned USBWA and NABC First Team All-District honors and was selected as the USBWA District IV Player of the Year
  • Earned a team-leading 17 Hard Hat Awards, which is given to the player with the most Blue Collar Points at the end of each game
  • Led the team in Blue Collar Points (667), deflections (110), floor dives (23), and-1s (7-of-10) and dunks (19)
  • Finished the year leading the team in rebounding (6.6 rpg), assists (3.3 apg), steals (1.7 spg) and blocks (1.1 bpg) while ranking fourth on the team in scoring average (11.2 ppg)
  • Also topped the team in offensive rebounds (2.5 orpg) 
  • Led UA with nine games of five or more assists this season, while leading the team in rebounding 17 times, assists 14 games, steals 14 times and blocks on 14 occasions which are all team-best number
  • Reached double figures in 19 of 33 games 
  • Had a career night vs. Georgia, accounting for a career-best 21 points to go along with five rebounds, four assists and three blocks (2/13)
  • Matched that scoring output by going for 21 points, 13 rebounds, four assists and three steals in the SEC semifinal win over Tennessee (3/13)
  • Accounted for 20 points, six rebounds and three steals in the NCAA Tournament first round win over Iona (3/20)
  • Recorded a career-high four blocks along with 13 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and the game-winning layup in the SEC Championship win over LSU (3/14)


For all the latest information on the team, follow AlabamaMBB on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. General athletic news can be found @UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and Alabama Athletics on Facebook.

The Million Dollar Man: Will NIL payout break Bryce Young?

The Million Dollar Man: Will NIL payout break Bryce Young?

Alabama quarterback Bryce Young being proclaimed as the new Million Dollar Man warrants a quote from the original. 

“You don’t tug on Superman’s cape, you don’t spit against the wind, and you don’t write checks that your body can’t cash!”

Insert a maniacal laugh from pro wrestling great Ted DiBiase.

We’ve officially reached uncharted territory with Young reportedly receiving “almost seven figures” in endorsement deals, per Alabama head coach Nick Saban. The name, image and likeness checks are being written. But will the 20-year-old sophomore, who has yet to even take a snap as a starter, be able to cash them with his play on the football field?

More importantly, will the early payout create a sense of overwhelming pressure that ultimately hurts his ability to perform?

Nebraska head coach Scott Frost believes so.

“I don’t know, if somebody gave me $750,000, I’d feel like I need to perform pretty well, particularly when you’re 19 years old,” Frost said at the Big Ten Media Day. “I think it’s great for student-athletes that they’re going to be able to capitalize on this. There’s going to be a million problems that come along with it that people aren’t expecting. Pressure to perform might be one of them.”

There will definitely be pressure for Young to perform this season, but it isn’t because of the massive endorsement deals he’s being offered right out of the gates. The pressure was always going to be there for the successor of Mac Jones and Alabama’s historically great 2020 offense. 

Young was clearly going to feel the weight of the world on his shoulders whether his bank account was in the red or soaring past seven figures. Such is the case when you play for a perennially contending school like Alabama. 

Such is the norm when Saban is your head coach. 

The expectations in the locker room are exactly the same as they were for Young before he started signing endorsement deals. If any coach is going to succeed at overseeing such a dramatic shift in college football, it will be Saban. 

Make no mistake, if Young stinks up the practice field, he’ll be the Million Dollar Man riding the bench. If anything, the large payout puts him at the mercy of talking heads in the media, fans and possibly even other players. You see it all of the time in professional sports. 

But then again, just being the quarterback for a football giant like Alabama is going to come with its outside vitriol regardless of the NIL deal. Countless fans and schools across the country have watched the Crimson Tide fe-fi-fo-fum their way through college football for years. There were always going to be the naysayers lying in wait to rub salt in the wounds if the experiment fails. 

Pressure is something Young will have to get used to regardless of the size of his wallet, especially if he’s saddling up behind center at Alabama. Jones and Tua Tagovailoa, Young’s predecessors, were both first-round NFL Draft picks. Even former Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Hurts was taken in the second round. 

So there’s a certain level of intrigue to see if Young follows in those same footsteps. 

It’s the reason why the endorsement deals are piling up outside his door long before he even takes a snap—long before he proves he’s worthy of donning the superman cape.  

97.7 ESPN The Zone Job Link

Bill Penney Toyota Weather