For Now, Cooke Still Eyes College

Just because the recruiting world hasn't heard much from Lenny Cooke since the conclusion of the summer period doesn't mean he's off the radar. On the contrary, Cooke is taking steps to get himself academically ready to be recruited by colleges this spring.

Cooke Plans To Take SAT

Just because Lenny Cooke won't be playing high school basketball this year doesn't mean he's not preparing himself for the next step in his career.

"What he's planning on doing is taking his SAT and getting a score and proceeding from there," Debbie Bortner said. Presently, Cooke resides with the Bortner Family in Old Tappan. He met Debbie's son Brian a few years ago and the two became friends and now, the Bortner's have given him residence and direction as he sits out this season after being ruled ineligible to play for Northern Valley Regional.

Just because Cooke won't be in a high school arena near you this season, doesn't mean he's not playing hoops. "He's going to school and doing everything he needs to do. He's going to play with the Riverside Church fifth-year traveling team. They'll play against some of the college and university JV teams."

Cooke's recruitment, should it materialize, probably won't gear up until the spring period. Many colleges are weary that he'll jump to the NBA, thus one of the reasons for their reluctance to make a commitment to recruiting him.

Bortner says that Cooke really wants to go to college. However, the letters N-B-A always seem to come up in conversation about him. "Everybody is saying that except him," Bortner, a former AAU coach, said. While the plan is to go to school, Bortner acknowledges that the jump to the NBA could take place. "Absolutely the possibility exists, but I think he would like to go to college. He has the body; the height and the physical ability [the NBA scouts] look for. But, it's not a guarantee and it's not always the right move."

Presently, Cooke has no in-home or official visits planned. "I think his thinking is that once he gets the SAT scores he can take some official visits. The plan is to be eligible and enjoy being a college basketball player."

Really, there is no rush to throw himself into the recruiting mix. Right now, schools have to deal with the present and that means recruiting kids who are going to be enrolling next fall. In Cooke's case, it works out well that he's in no hurry in terms of making any kind of a decision. All this means is once the early signing period closes, schools will probably then start to put more effort into recruiting him on the chance he gets a score and opts for college. At that point, we might have a better idea as to which programs he'll consider and which will jump into the fray.

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