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Cooper attempts to steal sign from UB’s student section

Following Tuesday’s Ohio win, guard curses fans for bikini poster

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Published: Thursday, March 7, 2013

Updated: Thursday, March 7, 2013 17:03


Courtesy of University at Buffalo Student Experience

The True Blue student section, including medical school student Jeffrey Herendeen (with cape, holding the sign of D.J. Cooper), cheers during Tuesday night's game, which Ohio won 72-69.

One of the best players in the Mid-American Conference may have gotten into an itsy bitsy, teenie weenie amount of trouble.

After Ohio’s come-from-behind win over the men’s basketball team in Alumni Arena Tuesday night, Bobcats standout senior guard D.J. Cooper stole a sign, which portrays him wearing a bikini top, from UB’s student section. Cooper took the sign while True Blue, UB’s official student fan club, was distracted – the members were chanting “We Know Buffalo!” for a promo video for WKBW, Buffalo’s Channel 7 affiliate.

True Blue recovered the sign near Ohio’s team bus later that evening. Ohio’s athletic department stated it does not have a comment on the situation at this time.

Jeffrey Herendeen earned his bachelor’s degree from UB in 2012 and he is currently in the medical school. He is known as True Blue’s “Cape Guy” for the outfit he wears to games.

“Somebody pushed past the girls and walked over to the D.J. Cooper poster, which was sitting along the bleachers,” Herendeen said. “We realized it was him, and he grabbed it and basically said something along the lines of: ‘I’m taking this s**t.’

“He was just swearing as he stormed off with it. He gave us the middle finger, visibly upset about it.”

Herendeen said True Blue’s officers, understanding Cooper’s frustration, decided to let it go and avoid a confrontation. He was unsure if Cooper left the sign outside the arena intentionally.

The game marked his last trip as an athlete to Alumni Arena, where fans owning the sign have taunted him for the past three years. A USA Today story printed in March 2012 states: “[Cooper’s] success has made him a bit of a villain who gets booed around the MAC. And in a game at Buffalo this season one fan sitting in the front row doctored a poster-sized photo of Cooper to have him wearing a bikini.”

However, the photo is not doctored. It appeared on Cooper’s Twitter account in July 2010 along with another photo of him wearing the top and a photo of bikinis at Wal-Mart. In a tweet that has since been deleted, Cooper (@DJCoop5) claimed he was paid to wear the outfit.

Mark Pereira received his Master’s degree in economics from UB in 2011. Known as “Top Hat Guy,” Pereira started the bikini tradition in 2011.

“I knew it was always good to dig up some dirt on players, so that’s what we did every game,” said Pereira, who saw the photo on a forum. “The first time we played Ohio after that, we made that giant poster and we printed out 500 copies of small sheets of him in a bikini and passed them out to the whole student section.”

The student section chanted “D.J. Swimsuit!” often throughout Tuesday’s game.

In the first half, Cooper hit a 3-pointer and pointed both hands at the section. When Cooper hit a pivotal three to put Ohio up 70-69 with 1:34 remaining, he stared at the students while slowly walking backward. Ohio won the game 72-69.

“When you play in Buffalo, you’ve got the crowd, the poster up – it’s just a hostile crowd,” Cooper said after the game. “I embrace that type of stuff. It gets me going. I don’t think it’s very smart for opposing teams to give a little fuel to the fire to one of the best players. I use it as motivation to basically step up and show ’em.”

Cooper made NCAA history in the matchup. He became the first athlete to record 2,000 points, 900 assists, 600 rebounds and 300 steals in a career.

“The kid’s a great player, but [he has] zero class,” Herendeen said.

Buffalo and Ohio have developed a rivalry since Ohio defeated UB on a last-second tip-in in the MAC Championship game in 2005, and tensions were high throughout Tuesday’s hard-fought game.

Herendeen said fans were also left discussing another post-game incident.

“[Ohio forward] Reggie Keely had an altercation with Javon McCrea’s mom in the hallway,” Herendeen said. “He walked back into the gym and he was yelling at her about something, and he took his jersey off and threw it on the ground.”

Ohio swept its regular season series with Buffalo, 2-0, though there is a chance the two teams could meet again in the MAC Tournament, which will run March 11-16.



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Cape Guy
Mon Mar 11 2013 09:09
Yes, as a student section we do try to mess with opposing players. Sorry if that seems classless, but find me one student section in the country that doesn't do that. As far as us yelling profanities at the family section, I am truly sorry. I do not engage in such activities as I don't really have anything against the families of players, it's not really fair to attack them at all. You are correct, that does not look good for us and I completely agree. Teasing opposing fans is one thing but verbally abusing them is not right.
As far as us being classless for making fun of DJ, I disagree. Every student section is the same. Take a look even at your own team's internet fan boards: I saw one comment by a person calling us classless, and then in another post that same exact person stated that they wished Akron's Abreu got arrested sooner so your student section could tear into him for that. Student sections are notorious for being a rowdy bunch of fans that will say pretty much anything. DJ Cooper is a Division I (and possibly someday professional) athlete who you think would be more concerned with maintaining a quality image. The reason I think that DJ is classless is not only based on what happened after the game, but also things he has done off the court (see the post by anonymous with the two links). I think it is a shame that such a talented player keeps bringing such negative attention to himself by doing pretty stupid and classless things. That's just my opinion, I'm not saying it's 100% right, and you are more than welcome to disagree.
Sun Mar 10 2013 16:25
Anonymous - I was there and witnessed the events, and I will say I am not Keely, his father, either of the two UPD officers, the photographers/videographers hired by UB, or a member of True Blue / UB Athletics. His attempt to assault you? Wow, thats a little bit of an exaggeration / unnecessary drama. No one was anywhere close to assaulting anyone. I also heard the student section using many curse words towards him after he took the sign (which wasn't right either). I also find it interesting you come on here calling someone out asking who they are, then end your post with don't tell anyone who I am.

Cape Guy - You admit your goal is to get in his head and try to humiliate him (your words). Interesting. I would call trying to publicly and intentionally humiliate someone just as classless, maybe its just a difference of opinion. Also, the student section yelling profanity at the Ohio family section reflected much more negatively on True Blue than anything to do with this "incident".

Sat Mar 9 2013 16:35
I have two things for those involved and anyone questioning Mr. Cooper's level of class, as it were.
Enjoy (DJ threatens a fan - Feb 2013) (DJ calls his homosexual professor a faggot - Dec 2010)
Cape Guy
Sat Mar 9 2013 13:21
Okay, let's assess this situation. I am "Cape Guy" so I feel somewhat inclined to respond to your comment.
First of all, DJ was the one who initiated any aggression after the game on Tuesday. We weren't even paying attention when he took the sign. Was there an exchange of harsh words? Of course.

We are a student section, are you implying that we shouldn't take something like DJ dressing in a bikini top and use it against him during games? Let's also forget about his statement that it fuels him, he's (as I stated in the article) a great player and no one can deny him of that. But obviously we got inside his head which was our main goal. Over the entire course of my tenure at UB, we have picked on many players, good and bad. Not a single one has ever had the gall to lash out at us. Do we expect that sort of response? A little, I mean when you try to humiliate someone on a large scale it will obviously upset the person. DJ had little to no class (there I won't say zero) coming over to us, acting the way he did, and even threatening to fight someone. Was it more a funny incident than anything else? Yes, yes it was.

Sue me for recounting what I saw take place but please, don't put words in my mouth. As far as the Keely situation goes, I only stated that it happened. I was not placing blame on anyone as I had no idea exactly what had transpired in the hallway prior to him reentering the gym.

Thank you for your feedback on the whole situation. It's always good to have a second opinion and another viewpoint. I can only assume you are an Ohio fan and I thank you for any long drive you may have taken to get here. I'm sorry if you were offended in any way by our student section poking fun at your golden boy.

Oh, and in case you missed it, I was clapping when he hit the 2000 point mark during the game because it was an impressive accomplishment that I commend him for. Definitely not a classy thing, I know.

Fri Mar 8 2013 05:15
... Cooper yelled, "walk up on me bro!"attempting to start a fight with me after I exclaimed "Woah! Woah Woah!" to him when he showed aggression when taking the sign. In honesty, he may be able to conflict whether it was ,"Walk up on me bro!", "Walk up at me bro!", or any variation of, "bro.". In the heat of the moment, some specific details are bound to be forgotten, as any psychology teach will attest to, but I know fighting words when I hear them. Cooper should be held to a much higher standard than what he showed post-game. And, for the record, I heard nothing but, "just let him take it," and "just let him go," after the sign was taken, aside from my comment relating to his aggression. If you think that his actions are okay, then you must be the guy in the tie that was holding him back, trying to salvage what image he had left. Actually, I only remember Keely, his father, two UPD officers, the photographers/videographers hired by UB, and members of True Blue and UB Athletics being left in the stadium when the event happened. Sean, are you the man in the tie that had a vested interest in Coopers' reputation? Who are you? Why aren't you or D.J. being held accountable for your actions? D.J. Cooper was an embarrassment to Ohio the other night and I'd be humiliated if I was associated with him at all. For the record, this was his reaction after not only winning, but breaking an NCAA record. What a pathetic embarrassment to college athletics.
As for Keely, I watched him come back into the court visibly upset and yelling. His father immediately jumped in and calmed him down. Mr. Keely, you have earned my respect for doing that and to Keely the player, obviously you should not be upset about what somebody's mom has said about you. How many "Momma" jokes have you made in the past ten years? With that said, you calmed down and talked to UPD in a respectful manner. You earned some respect for that.
Back to D.J. Cooper, all he did throughout the game was throw up his index finger in exclamation that he was, "#1" almost every time he scored a 3 towards the student section. D.J. Cooper attempted theft in an aggressive manner that shocked everyone that was left to witness it. Who was the "guy in the tie" that held D.J. Cooper back in his attempt to assault me? Was it an agent? NCAA players are not allowed to have agents. Who was so invested in D.J. Coopers reputation to allow him to steal the sign slandering whatever reputation he had, yet hold him back from students protesting the theft? An Ohio athletic official allowing a player to commit theft in front of his own eyes? That would require someone to be fired if that team had any sense of honor and respect at all. If nobody has been fired, then maybe, just maybe, D.J. Cooper should be held personally accountable for his actions.
Oh, and just in case you missed it, here's a link to one of the images that shows up when you search, "D.J. Cooper Bikini" on google. I have no rights to this link or the image accompanied.
If D.J. Cooper and the, "man in the tie," would like to apologize for what happened, as any respectable athlete and collegiate affiliate do, contact Aaron Mansfield of, "The Spectrum". I'm sure he'll know somebody who knows who I am... To those who know who I am, please do not reveal it unless we discuss it first. And that I leave in the trust and integrity (something D.J. Cooper lacks) to my friends. Thank you.
-Just Another Freshman
Thu Mar 7 2013 20:41
As a person who was at the game, Cooper may have been wrong in taking the sign, but his swearing was because the student section swore at him after taking the sign and flipped him off, albeit he shouldn't have taken the sign in the first place.

As for Keely and Javon's mother, she stepped up and yelled at him post-game in the hallway, to which he responded. Keely's father stepped in and got him out of the situation.

While actions may have been incorrect on Ohio's players in some aspects here, this article paints it as "Ohio bad Ohio bad Buffalo is 100% blameless here." And to say a player has zero class for taking the sign? Where does that leave the student section with the sign in general? Sure it's just a joke, but does that really give the student section much more class?

But no, let's have "Cape Guy" be the authority here on everything that went down, and deciding who has class and who doesn't have class.

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