Danny Cooper (Photo by Nate Dougherty)

As a teenager, Danny Cooper used to skip family vacations to work on basketball. And if he had to go, he would bring his ball and find a court.

From grade eight to grade 12, basketball was everything to the young Jewish kid. He worked on it daily. He wanted to make the varsity team at his hometown school, Plymouth Whitemarsh.

A power program in the area, PW often attracts players from outside Plymouth Meeting. But Cooper was determined. He worked out three times a day over the summer and got PW’s coach, Jim Donofrio, to open the gym.

By Cooper’s senior year, he played the role of sixth man. He would come in, run the offense and avoid turnovers. The Colonials started 27-0 but lost in the district and state playoffs.

Cooper worked for five years only to play a small role. It was a valuable lesson.

“Hard work does not guarantee success,” he said. “It guarantees that you can live with the results.”

It’s a lesson he continues to impart through Danny Cooper Basketball, his training program for young players.

On, the Philadelphia resident offers four sessions for $160, eight sessions for $250 and three sessions per week for $300. Each month, he runs a skills academy with groups of kids in grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12. This summer, he will run a series of week-long camps at AFC Fitness in Bala Cynwyd.

Cooper started training younger players when he was still in high school. As he put it, he was a “broke” 16-year-old looking for some money. But over seven years and more than 1,000 athletes trained, it’s become a passion.

The 23-year-old started training full-time in June 2023. Nine months later, he has 60 monthly clients and a full-time content creator, Nate Dougherty, a former teammate at Division III Moravian University. “We’re having a lot of fun,” Cooper said.

Cooper’s family belonged to Congregation Or Ami in Lafayette Hill, a Reform temple. Cooper also went to Nock-A-Mixon in upper Bucks County. His Jewish identity was strong even though his family wasn’t “super religious,” he said.

His Jewish identity also gave him a chance to play more basketball in the JCC Maccabi Games. In the 2015 games in Detroit, the 14-year-old Cooper was a 4-foot-10, 75-pound guard, according to his coach, Brian Schiff.

“He was a pesky little guard,” Schiff said.

But in the championship, the Philadelphia team blew a 14-point lead. Cooper was the only member of the team who was hysterically crying after the loss, according to Schiff.

Danny Cooper works with a player.(Photo by Nate Dougherty)

Schiff stayed in touch with Cooper and watched as his career progressed at PW. As the Maccabi coach described it, Cooper grew five inches and then another five inches. He also got “jacked.”

“The few times I went to PW games, they always played better when he was in the game,” Schiff said. “He had off-the-charts IQ and knew what to do.”

Cooper tried to walk on at Penn State University but didn’t make the team. To keep playing, he transferred to Moravian. He broke his foot his junior year and didn’t appear in a collegiate basketball game until he was 21, almost four years after his last high school game.

But as a senior, he scored 15 points per game and made the All-Landmark Conference Second Team.

“Adversity in high school helped me deal with adversity in college,” he said.

Cooper’s injury also gave him a chance to expand his interests. He no longer slept with his basketball. He began reading self-help books and investing money. Today, basketball is not his only thing. But it’s still his main thing.

And Cooper wants it to remain that way.

His long-term plan is for Danny Cooper to keep playing basketball.

He wants to build his business in Bala Cynwyd and eventually travel the country putting on camps and clinics. Cooper has already worked with professional players such as Lamar Stevens of the Memphis Grizzlies and Mac McClung, the former Philadelphia 76ers G-Leaguer who won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest in 2023 and 2024.

“I want to be able to inspire and help as many players as I can,” Cooper said. “Hopefully, I can pick up more college and NBA players and become one of the best basketball trainers in the industry.”

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