2006 Focus: Daequan Cook

Playing in a starting five that includes Josh McRoberts, Greg Oden and Mike Conley, it's easy to get overlooked. However, despite not getting as much ink as some of his teammates, Daequan Cook has still received plenty of respect.

It's hard to say a player gets overlooked when he's consistently ranked in the top 10 of his class, but it's accurate when talking about Daequan Cook.

The 6-4 ½, 200-pound Dayton Dunbar (Ohio) junior swingman was somewhat overshadowed this past spring and summer while playing in a starting five that also featured Duke-bound Josh McRoberts, potential future No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden and arguably the top point guard in the Class of 2006 – Mike Conley Jr.

However, Cook (Scout.com, No. 6) could care less about the accolades.

``We have different roles on our team during the summer and I don't have any problems with my role," Cook said. "I know I could probably get more exposure on a different team, but I'm happy with how things went."

Cook, who averaged 23.4 points and 12.7 boards as a sophomore, is a big-time player who does a little – no, make that a lot – of everything. He can score in just about every way, rebounds well for someone his size, handles the ball and lets the game come to him.

However, none of those are the attributes that impress his Dunbar first-year coach Peter Pullen the most.

``His unselfishness is what really stands out to me," Pullen said. "That might hurt us some, because sometimes he's got to be selfish. He's such a good all-around player and such a hard-worker. He's a student of the game who has all the tools."

Cook's mentor, Al Powell, said he first caught wind of how good Cook could be back in the fifth grade.

``He was so smooth and had the demeanor of a college player," Powell said. "Whether he's down was down one point or up 20 points, his demeanor never changed."

``On the court, whatever it is, Daequan has it," Powell added. "If it's composure, he has it. If it's rebounding, intelligence, whatever. I haven't figured out what "it" is yet, but it's all there. All you can do is nurture and fine-tune it."

Cook was slated to play for Powell's local Dayton-based traveling team again in the eighth grade until Powell's crew, playing without Cook, went up against Mike Conley Sr.'s Spiece Indy Heat out of Indiana. Normally, Spiece blew out its opponents by about 50 or so points. This team the margin was only about 30.

``I told Mike about Daequan and asked him to come to Dayton and play us in a scrimmage when Daequan," Powell recalled. "After only two minutes of watching Daequan play, he got an Indy Heat jersey and threw it to me and told us he was on the team."

The rest is history. Sort of.

Cook and the rest of his teammates have made names for themselves through playing together – instead of striving for individual accolades.

Now Cook has decided he's like to play with one of his teammates, Mike Conley Jr., in college.

``We're trying to make the same decision on a school," Cook said. "We both like Wake Forest and Ohio State."

However, those aren't the only schools that Cook is considering. He also has North Carolina, his dream school growing up, and Michigan and Oklahoma in his top five.

And while the NBA has been mentioned by some people, Cook is more intent on playing college ball for a while.

``I really plan on going to college and at least playing one or two years," Cook said. "If the chance comes to play in the NBA, I'll have to look at it. But I really want to play college basketball and it's more likely that I'll end up in college."

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