By Tom Ballato
Max Hooper played at Harvard, St. John’s, and finished his college career at Oakland. Many people might remember him in 2015-2016 when he took 257 shots, and all of them were three-pointers. Hooper took 490 shots in college, and only 11 of them were within the arch.
The Next Prospect caught up with the sharpshooter about his college days and what is next in his career.
This summer, you played on the Detroit Pistons’ Summer League team. How was the experience, and where do you plan to play this upcoming season?
Hooper: It was a great experience to be around players and coaches who are motivated to make it at the highest level of the game. It forces you to work harder and be your best self. I am not sure where I’ll play this year, but I’m hoping to be in a great situation where my skill set is embraced, and my coaches believe in me.
You bounced around in college from Harvard to St. John’s and found a fit at Oakland. How would you describe your collegiate career?
Hooper: My college career was all about finding the right fit. At Oakland, Greg Kampe’s offense matched what I do on the court perfectly and I was able to perform well on the court because of that.
I’m sure you get this a lot, but your senior season, you did not attempt a shot inside the 3 point arch. How did you manage that?
Hooper: My senior career was crazy because of all the attention that our team got as a result of me only shooting three-pointers. Those who know me well know that threes are what I do. However, I shoot the occasional layup or midrange jumper. Coach Kampe encouraged me to shoot threes whenever I possibly could as he knows the more I shot, the better our offense performed. The more attention defenses had to pay on me on the perimeter; it made life that much easier for Kay Felder to score inside.
How do you stay ready for your next opportunity, and what do you hope to do when your playing career is over?
Hooper: Staying ready is a challenge because you are constantly trying to figure out where you’ll head to play. For me personally, I’m in the gym every day with people who push me to improve. I workout with Anthony Morrow every day in the offseason, he is one of the best pure shooters in the NBA, and he pushes me to be my best every day. We have tons of shooting competitions, and it gets really heated and competitive. Through these competitions, we push each other to be better. For me, basketball is what I am passionate about and what motivates me. I want to coach basketball when my playing career is over. I’d love to coach in college or the NBA, but I am open to wherever the opportunity presents itself.
Tell me a little about your podcast? It’s called Shooting’ the Breeze with Max Hooper.
Hooper: My podcast was something that I did for fun. It was great to have candid conversations with the people that I did. It allowed them to share their stories and for others to learn from them. I haven’t put out an episode in a while. I need to do a new one sometime soon.