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Trail Blazers video assistant dies unexpectedly

Zach Cooper, a video analyst and player development coach, was 32 years old and in his first season with the Portland Trail Blazers.
Credit: Bruce Ely / Portland Trail Blazers
Portland Trail Blazers video assistant Zach Cooper, left, and center Jusuf Nurkic, right, during a pregame workout on Jan. 7, 2020.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Zach Cooper, a video analyst and player development coach for the Portland Trail Blazers, died unexpectedly last week, the team confirmed Monday.

The cause of death is unknown, though Jason Quick of The Athletic said Cooper's death was not related to COVID-19. The news was first reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said words can't express his sorrow over Cooper's death.

"I am devastated by the news of Zach’s passing. He was a valued member of staff, but more importantly, he was an outstanding young man who everyone loved and appreciated. Words cannot adequately express my sadness for such a loss," Stotts said.

According to Jason Quick of The Athletic, Cooper died last Thursday. Quick said Cooper was a fixture on the court, working out players before games.

Cooper was hired by the Blazers in September 2019 after nearly two years as director of scouting and video for the WNBA's Atlanta Dream. Before that, he was a video coordinator for the women's basketball programs at the University of Tulsa and the University of Houston.

Cooper graduated from Central College (Iowa) in 2010, where he was a four-year letter winner for the men's basketball team, and earned a Master's Degree in sports management from the University of Arkansas in 2014.

"This is a heartbreaking loss for the entire Trail Blazers family," said Neil Olshey, president of basketball operations for the Blazers. "Zach was a positive spirit, a tireless worker and an outstanding teacher. My prayers go out to his family and all who loved him."

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