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Bruce Pearl issues statement denying D.J. Cooper allegations

NCAA Basketball Tournament - Ohio v  South Florida

NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 18: D.J. Cooper #5 of the Ohio Bobcats reacts after a play against the South Florida Bulls during the third round of the 2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Bridgestone Arena on March 18, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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On Sunday, Pete Thamel of the New York Times wrote up a short piece on Ohio point guard D.J. Cooper and the possibility that schools may have been attempting to get him to transfer after the 2010 season.

The two schools named (there are others according to Cooper’s father) in separate reports (one by Brett McMurphy of were Baylor and Tennessee.

Baylor head coach Scott Drew issued his denial on Sunday afternoon, and Pearl took to the airwaves on his show on Sirius/XM radio to issue his denial. Sirius/XM emailed the statement, which can be seen below.

“My name came up this morning completely by surprise to me. In fact, the folks at SiriusXM kinda texted over there to me. I have never had contact with that family. I never reached out to them. I don’t know anything about it.”

“I guess the details are that D.J. Cooper’s dad said that Tennessee and Baylor had reached out and tried to get him to transfer. He didn’t make a big issue of it but said it happened. All I can remember is a couple of years ago we played against them. He was a terrific young player and, you know, he was a Player of the Year in that league. I think I remember saying really nice things about him. But as far as reaching out and contacting and trying to get him to transfer, absolutely not. Didn’t happen.”

“Never had any contact with him and I’m sure that after a freshman year, with a Player of the Year, in a league like that that there were people that reached out to him. Whether it would be through different contacts in different ways, ‘Hey, want to try to go someplace bigger and better,’ and so on and so forth. But this coach never had contact with that family.”

You can listen to audio of Pearl’s denial here.

On one side of the argument are Cooper’s parents, who have stated that these approaches did indeed happen, while on other sit the coaches who deny any wrongdoing taking place.

Looks as if the court of public opinion will be the ultimate judge as to whether or not anything truly happened. But most important for Cooper and his Ohio teammates is their match-up with North Carolina on Friday night.

Raphielle Johnson is the assistant editor at He can be followed at @raphiellej.