Australian import, Cooper Ward, excelled in high school athletics before deciding to pilot his education, choosing CBU as the destination. What Cooper sought out most were scholarships and the opportunity to grow as an individual while playing the sport he loved – basketball. “I envisioned my transition to Canada and playing for the Capers as the perfect opportunity for me to work on myself and grow as a young adult,” he says.
While working at a Capers camp during his first year at CBU, a parent approached Cooper and expressed the love her son had for him as a player and mentor. After learning about his mini fan, Cooper realized just how much of an impact he was making on Island’s youth. He felt he could do so much more and it didn’t take the aussie long to capture the hearts of Capers across the community. Cooper says he loves every single fan because of the unmatched energy they bring to the gym, creating an exciting atmosphere like no other. Concluding his rookie year with a bang, Cooper achieved the AUS all-rookie team award in the 2019/20 season.
Being the youngest men’s basketball player living away from home, Cooper appreciates the closeness of his team. “I think what makes us different is how close we are as a group; I would do anything for those guys,” he says of his teammates. “It made it so much easier for me being away from home, and having the vets guide me along the way.”
Cooper describes playing for the Capers as a feeling like no other. Having an amazing fan base that supports the team through everything is very important to him, and Cooper says CBU’s outstanding resources and understanding professors allowed him to find a balance in student-athlete life.
Cooper says he has his mom to thank for being his strongest support system along with his teammates for ensuring he stayed on task and submitted assignments on time. “I love my teammates. We know when to relax, chill and have fun,” says Cooper. “And we also have a certain level of respect throughout the group which I love”.
Looking back on his time at CBU, Cooper says he’ll always remember the Caper camps, and entertaining the kids by saying different words and making them laugh with his thick Australian accent. Cooper confesses that one of his challenges after arriving in Cape Breton was learning to cook and not relying on fast food, however being at CBU pushed him to overcome his obstacles.
Though his journey is now taking him to Medicine Hat College, Cooper will always hold a special place in the hearts of Capers fans. In the short term, he looks forward to his upcoming professional season playing for the Ipswich Force in Australia. To learn more about the team, visit: https://ipswichforce.nbl1.com.au