The Scotland U21 star is attracting the interest of Tottenham, who have had him watched on a number of occasions, but Hooper feels it is vital for the Hoops to resist temptation of a sale.
“James is a top player who we need at the club. Defenders can't live with him up here. His final ball is good so hopefully we can keep him,” Hooper said.
“He has a good ten yards of pace and gets the ball into the box. He also scores goals so you can't ask for much more.
"He was unplayable on Monday (referring to his performance in the Scotland U21 win over Holland).
“He was up against a great left back who was quick but James was terrific. He put in the cross for the first goal and played really well.
"James was my man of the match but I see him play like that in training every day so it wasn't a surprise to me. He's a very good player and can go a long way."