LITTLE ROCK - While he is being recruited for his football prowess, it's all about basketball this week for Jonesboro standout Grant Cook.
Cook (6-6, 280), a 2007 offensive line/tight end prospect that the University of Arkansas is recruting, is part of the school's top-ranked basketball team.
The Hurricane (19-5) downed Conway 49-45 on Tuesday night at the Jack Stephens Center to advance to Friday's quarterfinal round game at 2:30 against Rogers.
"It's been great to be on a team that has got a chance to compete for a state championship," Cook said. "We only have two seniors on the team this year so we have 13 juniors that will be coming back next year so we are going to be pretty good then. We've got a bunch of athletes. I just play to help my footwork."
It's been a better team season on the court than it was on the field for Cook, whose football team finished 4-6 in 2005.
"I thought I played pretty good individually," Cook said. "I thought I could have played better, but you always think that it could be better.
"We had a couple of good players, but it never really came together for us," Cook added. "If it doesn't come together, then you are not going to win many games. I think this year we might be able to put it together better."
Cook, whose dad Danny was a former Arkansas State standout who later signed a free agent contract with the New Orleans Saints, thinks part of the struggles had to do with a switch to a different offense this past season.
"Last year was the first time that we were running a spread time offense," Cook added. "It was kind of confusing at first, but we'll get that together and get that going."
Cook is reporting an offer from Arkansas and assistant Danny Nutt and interest from other schools such as Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Alabama, Memphis, Florida State and Miami.
"He (Nutt) gave it to me last summer," Cook said. "He saw me on the basketball court and saw that I could move pretty well. I was really excited about that."
UA head coach Houston Nutt was actually in the stands at his basketball game on Tuesday to watch his nephew Logan Nutt - son of ASU head basketball coach Dickie Nutt - and Cook.
"I love Arkansas, of course, that is my home state and and it's a home state thing," Cook said. "I've got to be good friends with Danny and Houston through Dickie and Logan. I love them like family.
"Arkansas is a good place and I like them," Cook added. "I like them and know them personally so it is going to be up there when I make my decision."
It remains to be seen if Cook will be a tight end or offensive lineman in college.
"I guess wherever I fit in best in the program and play the fastest," Cook said. "The hard part is over with when it comes to tight end. I know how to block there. The easiest part is just being an athlete and going out there and catching the ball. "I suppose if I put on some more weight I will fit into a program more as an offensive lineman."
JHS offensive line coach Perry Darby was quoted in the Jonesboro Sun as saying that Cook compares favorably with two of the school's former offensive lineman that have gone on to play college ball in Greg Jones (Tennessee) and Matt Gilbow (Arkansas).
"I feel like Grant's talent is unlimited, and where he wants to go from here is unlimited depending on his work ethic. His work ethic has gotten a lot better from last year to this year, and that's maturity a little bit," Darby said. "As far as his footwork — I believe his footwork is as good or better than the other two we've had the last six years go play SEC ball. He's going to get stronger. His agility on the basketball court has caught a lot of eyes with college coaches — he's got the skill and the talent."
He plans to hit the weight room as soon as basketball season concludes.
"As soon as basketball is over, I will get in our offseason program," Cook said. "I'll lift weights then and throughout the summer and just get stronger."
He is also planning for a busy summer.
"This summer I plan on going to as many camps and I can that don't conflict with each other," Cook said. "I know I am going to go to Arkansas, Tennessee and Alabama. I went to Junior Day at Ole Miss, but I am not sure if I will make it back there for a camp."
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