Sounds of silence

Te’a Cooper said Tuesday that Tennessee placed a high value on her leadership while recruiting her.

A key dimension of  that quality is her ability to communicate. The 5-foot-8 women’s basketball point guard from Powder Springs, Ga., described herself as being vocal and someone who relishes motivating and helping others.

Cooper, who will be a senior this season at McEachern High School, committed to the Lady Vols last Thursday. Her natural disposition seems well-suited for convincing friend and workout partner Diamond DeShields to join her at Tennessee.

DeShields announced last month that she was transferring after one season at North Carolina. She has since visited UT, Georgia and South Carolina.

In this case, though, Cooper thinks it’s better to not be so vocal.

“She’s trying to decide where she’s going to be happy,” Cooper said. “We don’t talk about basketball. Of course, I’d love to play with her. But  it’s her decision. I want her to be happy.”

As it stands, Cooper’s decision is important for two reasons. She’s one of the top prospects in the Class of 2015, someone who just earned a spot on the 12-player U.S. women’s U-17 World Championship team. She already has played on two state championship teams at McEachern while scoring 1,570 career points and recording 500 assists.

By committing to UT, she also has endorsed head coach Holly Warlick and her staff as they enter their third season together.

“I just want to spend time with the coaches,” Cooper said, “get to know them. I want to watch them coach.”

Overall, Cooper believes that she’s made a “great decision” in choosing Tennessee. She offered only one thought regarding her friend’s impending choice.

“I don’t think (Diamond) is going to say anything,” Cooper said. “I  think she’s going to one day just up and commit (to a school).”