Despite the fact that Cordell Pope, the No. 50 ranked player in the class of 2006, is receiving interest from some of the top programs in the country, the 6-foot-5, 170-pound shooting guard from Parker High School in Birmingham, Alabama is focused right now on just getting better.
"Right now I'm getting early interest from UAB, UConn, Kentucky, Alabama, Stanford, Florida, and Florida State,” said Pope. “I don't have any ideal where I will go. It''s still early. My main concern right now is on getting better."
Pope’s AAU coach Norm Williams of the Birmingham Raptors sized up Pope’s strengths and weaknesses in this manner.
"I think he's probably the best shooter in the country,” said Coach Williams. “He can shoot off the catch or off the bounce. He's a pure shooter. If he works hard over the next two years he has the potential to be a top 5 player."
"He needs to work on his quickness and his defense. He has all the tools to be a big time college player."
Displaying a strong knowledge of his own game, Pope’s assessment of his game matches up well with his AAU coach’s assessment.
"My greatest strength is my size and ability to shoot the ball,” said Pope. “There aren't too many guards with my size. I'm able to shoot over the top of defenders.
"My defense isn't where I want it to be. I'm going to be doing defensive drills all summer to get better. I'm also going to be in the weight all summer to get bigger and stronger."
Although a decision is quite a distance away for Pope, he did have this comment about what he is looking for in a school.
"The main thing I'll be looking for in a college is my relationship with the coach and the players on the team,” he said. “I'm looking for a school with a good foundation and a good background. I'd like to have a chance at playing early. I think an up and down type of game suits my style the best."