Cook spoke with IlliniPlaybook about his thoughts on the game in St. Louis where Rayvonte Rice hit the game winner as the clock expired.
“It was fun to watch because both teams were playing hard and with lots of energy," he said. "It was a great atmosphere to be in also.”
The junior post noticed several aspects when watching Illinois play.
“Their unselfishness was extremely noticeable," Cook said. "Well coached team on both sides of the court.”
He was paying particularly close attention to how their big men were playing and how they were used.
“They always had good position in the post to be able to score,” he said.
Cook talked about his relationship with Illinois at this point, which has picked up quite a bit lately.
He said, “They’ve been calling and texting me a lot more lately so I’m getting to know them better.”
He has enjoyed the process and has gotten more familiar with the Illini staff.
“They’re very smart," Cook said of the Illinois coaches. "I saw that while watching the game. Very nice people and they use all the pieces they have.”
The coaches have identified Cook as a prospect to recruit for several reasons.
“They like that I lead my team and like my versatility on offense and defense,” he said.
The relationship is forming, but what's next for Cook and the Illini?
“Just that they are going to keep in touch and try to get me on campus soon so we can build a relationship,” Cook said.
The Scouting Report:
The physical post has slimmed down over the last year and gotten significantly better athletically which has helped take his overall game to new heights, both figuratively and literally. The 6’8” power forward has a 6’11” wingspan and great strength in the paint. His explosion has improved as he can now drop step and dunk on his opponent with no problem. He also has the skill level where he can back his man into the paint and finish with sound footwork and a soft touch around the hoop. Cook is quick around the basket and active on the glass, rebounding well on both ends of the floor. Defensively, he is a good anchor on the low block that can keep his opponent from getting deep post position.