Paris Announces Addition of Two Transfers
South Carolina Athletics
Stephen Clark (The Citadel) and Ta'Lon Cooper (Minnesota) sign with Gamecocks from transfer portal
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina announced the addition of two graduate transfers on Wednesday morning in forward Stephen Clark (The Citadel) and guard Ta’Lon (tuh-LON) Cooper. Both student-athletes will be immediately eligible for the 2023-24 season using their last year of collegiate eligibility.
“We’re really excited about these additions to our program,” said head coach Lamont Paris. “They have a lot of experience playing college basketball and are a great fit for what we’re trying to do. This is an excellent start for our recruiting in this cycle. Both of these guys are outstanding young men, high quality people and will be great teammates for our current roster as well as other prospects we hope to bring in here.”
Clark, who hails from Charlotte, N.C., spent the past four seasons at The Citadel (2019-23). A three-year starter, the 6-9 Clark averaged 9.5 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.8 blocks per game in 109 appearances (88 starts) for the Bulldogs. He’s coming off the best season of his career in which he led The Citadel in scoring (16.3 ppg), rebounding (6.5 rpg), assists (2.8 apg) and blocks (1.8 bpg). Clark had 10, 20-point games this past season with four double-doubles. A career 52.1 percent (428-of-821 FGs) shooter, he made 210-of-427 field goal attempts (49.2 percent) in 2022-23. Clark played three seasons at The Citadel with Gamecock Hayden Brown.
“Stephen is an extremely versatile player on both sides of the ball,” said Paris. “Offensively, he has great touch around the basket and is an underrated passer. Defensively, his length and ability to move his feet allow him to guard a variety of positions and contest shots at the rim.”
Cooper, who hails from Roebuck, S.C., has made two stops in his career at Morehead State (2019-22) and Minnesota (2022-23). A team captain who started all 30 games this past season for the Gophers, he averaged 9.8 points (third on the team) and 6.3 assists (led team) per game. The 6-4 guard had 196 assists (12th in the nation) and a 6.3 assist per game average (7th in the nation) this season, which both ranked second all-time at Minnesota for a single season. He averaged 37 minutes a game and led the team in minutes played (1,096). Cooper had 16 double-figure outings and 21 games with five or more assists (three double-figure assist games) for the Gophers in 2022-23.
“Ta’Lon is an accomplished player that adds very good size and length for us on the perimeter,” said Paris. “As an elite passer, he has the ability and willingness to help make teammates better. We will count on him to generate offense as both a passer and scorer. Aside from what he’s done offensively, he can disrupt things on the defensive end and help get us extra possessions in games.”
Prior to Minnesota, Cooper played in 95 games (52 starts) at Morehead State. He averaged 8.1 points and 4.3 assists per game for his career with the Eagles. He was a First Team All-Ohio Valley Conference selection in 2022 after averaging 9.1 points, 5.9 assists and 3.1 steals per game. Cooper helped lead the Eagles to an OVC title in 2021 and an NCAA Tournament appearance. He played two seasons at Morehead with forward Johni Broome, who was an All-SEC selection this past season for Auburn. Cooper ranks 21st on the NCAA active career assists leaders list with 603.