BNL’s Staley to play for Rockford

BNL’s Kooper Staley will continue his basketball career at Rockford University.

By Justin Sokeland

BEDFORD – Former Bedford North Lawrence standout Kooper Staley will continue his basketball career at Rockford University in Illinois.

Staley, a deadly perimeter shooter, averaged 10.6 points per game for the Stars last season and hit 49 3-pointers as BNL went 14-11 and reached the Class 4A sectional final. He was named Honorable Mention in the Hoosier Hills Conference by the league coaches.

The chance to play at the next level has been a long-time goal for Staley.

”I’ve always wanted to play college basketball,” he said. “It didn’t matter where, it’s been a goal and I’m happy it actually happened.”

He will join a NCAA Div. III program that went 9-5 during a shortened 2020-21 campaign. The Regents, who compete in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference, went 11-14 during the 2019-20 season under head coach Jeremy Reigle.

“They play a fast-paced, shoot-first style, and that fits my game perfectly,” Staley said. “Coach Reigle said if you can’t shoot behind the 3-point line, you probably won’t be able to play. That’s perfect for me.

“In a way he’s a lot like Coach (Jeff) Hein. He wants you to shoot the first open shoot, he wants to lock down defensively. He really reminds me of Hein, he’s big on defense. There’s no wasted opportunities. If you get one, you do it.

“Coach Hein couldn’t have prepared me any better for the physicality. I’m not the strongest, but with Coach Hein he showed us the toughness we needed to play with. He has prepared me mentally for the next level.”

Staley, who plans to major in general studies his first year, will report to Rockford on Aug. 14.