Big summer start for ND's Jack Cooley


Tom Noie
South Bend Tribune

Early foul trouble didn't affect the focus late Monday of former Notre Dame power forward Jack Cooley.

Starting at center for the Utah Jazz against the Boston Celtics in the opener of the Utah Summer League in Salt lake City, Cooley picked up two fouls the first 2:40 of the game. But this is summer league, where every player gets 10 fouls before fouling out, so after a quick stint on the bench, Cooley went right back to work.

Cooley finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds, including seven on the offensive end, as Utah rolled to a 100-82 victory at Energy Solutions Arena.

Cooley did all his damage in just 16 minutes. It was the first live action he had seen as a member of the Jazz since the end of the regular season.

"I was itching to get going," Cooley told afterward. "I just want to come out and play aggressive."

Being allowed 10 fouls - four more than the usual NBA maximum - allowed Cooley to focus more on what he can do around the bucket and less about the referee's whistle.

"When you give me the guideline that I get 10 fouls in a game, my eyes get pretty big when I see that," he said. "It was exciting to go out there and play in a tough game."

Having played in previous summer leagues with Cleveland, Houston and Memphis, the former first team All-Big East pick signed a multi-year deal last year with Utah, which holds the contract option for 2015-16.

Undrafted coming out of Notre Dame, Cooley played professionally for one year in Turkey.

Cooley and the Jazz are back at it Tuesday at 9 p.m. South Bend time. The Utah Summer League ends Thursday before the Jazz open Samsung Summer League play Saturday in Las Vegas against the Miami Heat. Tip is 10:30 p.m. South Bend time and can be seen on NBA TV.

Former Irish Pat Connaughton (Portland) and Jerian Grant (New York) make their summer league NBA debuts Saturday in Las Vegas.

Former Notre Dame power forward Jack Cooley snares one of his 13 rebounds as a member of the Utah Jazz during NBA summer league play Monday against the Boston Celtics. Utah won 100-82.AP Photo/RICK BOWMER