April 25, 2006
PORTLAND, Ore. -The University of Portland received written confirmation from the NCAA that men's basketball player Darren Cooper has been granted a season-of-competition waiver and an extension waiver and will therefore be eligible to return to The Bluff and play one more season with the Pilots.
Cooper completed his second season with the Pilots last year, earning honorable mention All-West Coast Conference honors while averaging 14.9 points per game.
A 2001 graduate of Benson Tech High School in Portland, Cooper played his freshman year at Eastern Washington University and returned as a sophomore for the 2002-03 season. As a result of emotional stress in dealing with learning that his uncle was diagnosed with brain cancer, Cooper returned home to Portland after playing in one exhibition game with the Eagles.
Following the passing of his uncle and grandmother, Cooper's mother was diagnosed with brain cancer in June of 2003. Cooper remained with his mother in the fall of 2003 and enrolled at Portland Community College while helping take care of his family.
He enrolled at the University of Portland in the spring of 2004, paying his own way for the semester as the Pilots did not have an available scholarship. Cooper returned to the court and averaged 11.4 points as a junior with the Pilots during the 2004-05 season.
His eligibility was exhausted after the 2005-06 season as a result of being enrolled for five years, but the NCAA determined that the season-of-competition waiver was justified because of the extreme hardship of his family situation.
The extension waiver applies to the 2006-07 season, when Cooper will take the court under first-year head coach Eric Reveno.