Cook to Duke; Kabongo Recommits to Texas (UPDATED)
Oak Hill point guard Quinn Cook thrilled one set of college basketball fans and disappointed another Thursday when he announced for Duke over UCLA.
“My relationship with Coach K and a chance of winning,” Cook, the No. 7 point guard in the Class of 2011, said by phone when asked why he chose the Blue Devils. “I think we can make a run next year with a national championship.”
ZAGSBLOG was the first to report earlier this week that Cook was down to Duke and UCLA.
The 6-foot-2, 175-pound Cook averaged 20 points, 5.9 assists and 3.3 rebounds last season for DeMatha (Md.) High and was named the All-Met player of the year by the Washington Post.
He visited Duke on Oct. 15 for “Countdown to Craziness.” He also took a visit to UCLA earlier last month.
Cook plays for the DC Assault AAU team, the same program that Duke senior guard Nolan Smith played for. The two are very close friends and Cook stayed with Smith on one visit to Duke.
“Nolan is like my big brother so he didn’t really tell me to go to Duke,” Cook said. “He wanted me to make my own decision. I saw the way he grew there in his three years. I definitely want to be where he was it. That helped make my decision.”
Duke already has commitments from 6-11 center Marshall Plumlee, 6-4 guard Austin Rivers and 6-6 small forward Michael Gbinije. The NCAA early signing period begins Wednesday.
Duke also has superstar freshman Kyrie Irving in the fold at the point.
Irving, the former Elizabeth (N.J.) St. Patrick star, has been projected as a lottery pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, but could opt to remain at Duke for his sophomore season, especially if there is an NBA lockout.
The current NBA collective bargaining agreement expires June 30.
“If Kyrie stays I’ll get a chance to go against the best point guard in college basketball every day,” Cook said. “If he leaves it’s the opportunity for me to start. It’s a win-win situation in my eyes for me.”
Oak Hill coach Steve Smith said UCLA essentially promised Cook the starting point guard spot next season.
“It was real tough,” Cook said. “UCLA, they’ve been up here every week. I was their No. 1 priority. I went with my heart. I felt more comfortable at Duke.”
KABONGO RECOMMITS TO TEXASFindlay Prep point guard Myck Kabongo, who earlier this week decommitted from Texas, reaffirmed Thursday that he will sign with the Longhorns.
“I took a quick step and I evaluated everything and quickly realized that Texas is best for me,” Kabongo said in a text message to ESPN.com. “For all the reasons I’ve stated before in the past, there’s no way I can build a relationship with [another] coach in a year like I have with Coach [Rick] Barnes and the staff at Texas and I don’t want to waste the other coaches or individuals associated with the schools time knowing this.”
Kabongo, a native of Ontario, Canada ranked the No. 5 point guard in the Class of 2011, had previously said he would look at Duke, North Carolina, Syracuse, Kentucky and Texas.
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.