One on one with Quinn Cook

After a rocky first three years in Durham, Quinn Cook’s senior season was a storybook ride that ended with the program’s fifth national championship. Now Cook is battling for a shot in the NBA. We sat down with the former captain to discuss his career at Duke and what he’s hearing regarding his pro dreams.

To start, how does it feel having the opportunity to compete for a spot in the NBA?

Quinn Cook: It’s fun, it’s definitely fun. You dream of one day being able to play in the NBA and competing for a spot. It’s a dream come true and I’m just trying to learn as much as I can.

How did your pre-draft process go?

I worked out for 11 teams, and I learned how to prepare myself through working out with different coaches and different pros. It was about seeing how hard the guys worked. I learned a lot from different people.

How did the opportunity arise for you to play for the Thunder’s Summer League Team?

I worked out with the Thunder twice during my process and I think the staff really liked me going into the draft. Even though I didn’t get drafted, myself and my agent felt like it was a good fit for me for Summer League.

What’s been the biggest surprise to you so far? Have you had to make any adjustments while competing for a spot at the NBA level?

The game is a lot faster, you think college is faster but the game up here at this level is just so much faster with the athletes and the size of them…that’s something I’ve had to adjust to. It’s been getting better though and my teammates and my coaches are helping with me that, I’ve been making the adjustment which is good.

Has there been anything specific that you learned in your four years at Duke that has already helped you into your transition to the professional game?

It’s not just one thing. It’s so much because Coach K has coached the USA teams and he’s coached a lot of pros while he’s been at Duke, so I learned a lot from him and I feel like I have a leg up on other guys coming into the League. The stuff you learned from Coach K and with my relationship with him really helped me prepare. He actually called me right after my first pro game and we talked for like 30 minutes on how it went and different things that I have learned. I was just so appreciative of that. The relationship with Duke and the coaching staff is just great and it still carries over even when you aren’t there anymore.

What was the feedback like from Coach K after your first Summer League game?

He was proud of me with the way I competed and the way my mind was right, my defense, just everything with how I played he was proud of me with handling the ball and with everything. 

How much help did you seek from Coach K during your pre-draft process?

A lot. We was making sure I was doing the right things in workouts and he was calling teams to check up on me. He helped me so, so much this far and along the way.

Speaking of helping you—many saw your remarks at the Duke Post Season Banquet recently and you pointed to the pre-Senior year meeting with Coach K and it’s impact on you. Do you view that meeting as a turning point?

It was a big turning point for me for sure. My mom was there, and I think it needed to be done and Coach, you know, he really checked me. I’m really thankful it happened because I left that room a new man and I’m very appreciative of that.

It was a lot that he said that day…he talked about my leadership, and how I needed to lead by my example, and that I needed to use my voice by being vocal. I just listened to what he said and then I really tried to take the freshman in and be there every day. I really wanted to show the guys that I was ready to lead those guys every day.

What did it mean to you personally to see your final year at Duke go the way it went with all the success you guys had?

It was great. I felt it went perfect. If you write down the perfect season and the perfect story—that would be it. We had everything. Crucial road games, crucial neutral site games, coming back to win 1000 at Madison Square Garden…if we don’t lose those two games in a row against NC State and Miami, we would never win and with the way we won in the Garden, it was just storybook in the way it went. 

When you look back on your Duke career Quinn, how do you sum it all up?

I really grew up on and off the court at Duke, and that’s why you go to college. The basketball is fun, but you come to college as a 18 year old kid and you leave a 22 year old man. I’m just so ecstatic that I had a chance to go to Duke, and I have so many life lessons that I learned there that I’ll teach my kids and my grandkids. I’m just truly blessed that I went to Duke.

The Devils Den Top Stories