ABCD: Lenny Cooke

Lenny Cooke


After dominating the 2000 ABCD Camp, Lenny Cooke has a simple goal this time around.

"Be MVP two years in a row," he said.

Cooke is a star in Teaneck, New Jersey this year. Little kids chant "Lenny, Lenny" and then hound him for autographs. The media swarms him after his game.

On the court, Cooke is a competitor, stepping up to the challenge on every occasion. And on Sunday afternoon, the challenge was the highly-touted Carmelo Anthony.

The two jawed back and forth for the duration of the game, and Cooke had an answer for each of Anthony's big plays. After Anthony blocked a Cooke shot and began trash talking, Cooke responded on the very next play by burning Anthony for a loud backboard-slapping (and technical-earning) alley-oop.

"I don't hold grudges, but if you're going to go against me, I'll go against you," he said.

By the end of the matchup, Cooke scored 20 points, leading the Warriors to an overtime win.

Cooke still lists five schools (North Carolina, St. John's, Miami, Ohio State and Seton Hall) and doesn't plan on beginning the college process until the fall.

For now, his focus is on a strong academic senior year, so much so that he may not even play high school basketball this winter -- and the Carolina coaching staff is fine with that.

"It doesn't matter if I play or not next year, as long as I keep my grades up, they will have a scholarship for me," he said of the Tar Heels.

But any player as talented as Cooke is going to consider the NBA Draft, and Cooke says there is a "50/50 chance" that he'll head straight to the pros.

"I could qualify and still go in the Draft," he said.

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