Penn State has announced Zach Cooper will join the Nittany Lions’ basketball team as a preferred walk-on this fall.
The junior spent two years at Gulf Coast State College in Panama City, Fla., appearing in 12 games last season. The 6-foot-1 guard scored 11 total points. Cooper played one season at Division III Alfred University before heading south and sitting out the 2010-11 season.
The Ijamsville, Md., native will have two years of eligibility remaining with the Lions. In 2009, Cooper led Urbana High School in scoring and earned first-team all-county and all-Gazette honors. He attended the same school as Penn State football’s all-time leading passer, Zack Mills.
The addition of Cooper brings the Lions’ roster to 14 players this season, and a former walk-on has earned a scholarship.
Senior Nick Colella, who spent his first two years playing for Division III Penn State-Behrend, will complete his career as a scholarship player. The guard started six Big Ten games last season after practicing with the Lady Lions for a month in the fall. He eventually tried out and made the men’s team.
“Nick works tremendously hard and is a terrific teammate and leader for our team,” head coach Patrick Chambers said in a release. “He seized the opportunity to play significant minutes last year and did some very good things for us. We are happy to be able to recognize his dedication with a scholarship in his final season.”
Colella finished third on the team in three-pointers with 16 last season and averaged more than 20 minutes per game during Big Ten play. He finished the season with an average of 2.7 points per game and 1.3 rebounds per game.
The Lions will kick off their 2012 season Nov. 9 against St. Francis (PA) at the Bryce Jordan Center after finishing 12-20 a year ago.