Lenny Cooke Profile

Lenny Cooke
6-6, 215 pounds
Northern Valley (NJ)

Latest News

10/26: One of the other programs that expressed interest in Cooke earlier in the year was North Carolina, but it seems that the staff has cooled on Cooke, according to his guardian ... (Lenny Cooke update)

9/6: Exclusive - Lenny Cooke Video!

8/22: Cooke told SchoolSports that he'll decide his high school future in the next two weeks. And, the Tar Heels still lead - and will offer a scholarship if improves his grades. "I haven't spoken to them (North Carolina) recently, but they are still my favorite," Cooke told SchoolSports. "If I don't go there, I want to go to St. John's." (link)

7/26: "UNC is my favorite," Cooke told Prep Stars yesterday, "but I also like St. John's, Seton Hall, Ohio State and Miami."

But as we've said before, Cooke's focus right now is on academics. First, he wants to qualify. Then, he'll decide whether or not he'll enter the NBA Draft or attend college.

7/12: Cooke, as expected, was one of the stars of the ABCD Camp. He averaged 16.5 points and 5.4 rebounds.

"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 ... ABCD: Lenny Cooke

6/28: "[Doherty] told me I don't have to play anywhere; they'll still recruit me," Cooke told the Herald Sun. "He just told me I need to keep working to keep my grades up." (link)

6/25: SchoolSports.com reports Coach Doherty called Cooke last week. Cooke is considering not playing basketball next year in order to focus on academics. The Tar Heels' interest in Cooke is pending his ability to improve his grades. "It's a no-brainer for me (to choose Carolina)," Cooke said. (Jeff Goodman link)

6/21: Mike Sullivan on the recent Cooke/Carolina developments: "Lenny Cooke is the most talented player in the class of 2002. Forget the rankings. Lenny works his backside off every game. He deserves to have the top billing. Cooke can razzle, dazzle you with passes. He can skip past you with the dribble. And he is relentless in picking up loose balls off the glass." (Cooke & Carolina -- Perfect Together?)

6/20: In Part II of Goodman's feature story, Cooke said he is very interested in the Tar Heels.

"UNC was always the school where I wanted to go, and if they start recruiting me, I'd have to really consider going," Cooke told SchoolSports.com. "I'd like to get a chance to talk to them and have them see that I've changed and my grades have changed."

For now, it appears Carolina's interest in Cooke is on hold until he qualifies for college.

"It's just a matter of academics," said Cooke's guardian Debbie Bortner. "Now, it's just a waiting game with Carolina." (Carolina Home Cooking?)

6/19: Part I of a feature by Jeff Goodman at SchoolSports.com, highlights how Cooke has changed, no longer a "hothead."

"He didn't kind of calm down," AAU teammate, and UNC target, Jason Fraser told Schoolsports.com. "Just as crazy as he was, he's that calm now. He's by far the calmest guy on the team now."

And he's also focused on improving his grades.

"At La Salle (High in New York), I was just passing to play basketball. I was getting D's just so I could play," Cooke said. "After basketball was over, I was failing. But last marking period (at Northern Valley), I missed the honor roll by one grade." (Cook-ing up a New Meal )

6/19: Analyst Michael Kruse said on UNCbasketball.com: "Cooke is flat-out the best player in the Class of 2002. Now that I think about it, it's not even close, really. He can do more things better than anybody else."

3/22: An interesting note from Newsday.com about Cooke at ABCD last summer: "Lenny Cooke, a Brooklynite who was MVP of last summer's adidas ABCD camp in New Jersey, attended summer school in the morning and was driven to ABCD for afternoon games by his summer team director."

3/21: Brick Oettinger, at CNNSI.com, ranked Cooke the second best small forward in the country, regardless of class and age:

"An extremely aggressive run/jump athlete who accomplished enough in the final month and a half of the season to justify a ranking this high. Because he turns 19 during the 2001-2002 academic year, he may wind up attending a prep school. (link)

3/18: The New York Times has a good feature up on Cooke's efforts to change his lifestyle and improve his grades.

"There are no generalizations being made here, no condemnations. Lenny could have gone to class and done the work in Brooklyn, or at LaSalle Academy in Manhattan. He just didn't, and maybe, back in the city, he was a basketball prodigy too caught up in an athletic gold rush whose prospectors filled his head with hoop dreams that don't leave room for anything else. Maybe he needed some life-altering event, such as the birth of his son, Anahijae, last year, to rally himself in the academic arena before he was too far behind." (ABCD Stat Leaders)

2/14: Cooke scored 52 points (24 FG's, 1 3pt) and grabbed 16 rebounds in an 80-41 win over Northern Bergen last night.

8/19: Cooke earned "Most Promising Prospect" honors at the prestigious Five-Star Camp.

7/24: Newsday.com references a brief conversation between Kobe Bryant and Lenny Cooke: "The Lakers star talks to the campers - and is challenged to a one-on-one duel by 6-6 Lenny Cooke, the brash but likable Brooklynite and camp scoring leader who is using the weekend as a coming-out party. The challenge is amusing, but Bryant dismisses Cooke: 'No way you can beat me. Mentally, you're not tough enough.'"

7/11: Safe to say that after Cooke's week at ABCD, he'll be considered one of the top members of the Class of 2002. Cooke led the camp in both scoring and rebounding, with 17.9 points and 9.9 rebounds. He missed the last game of the week due to a shoulder injury. (ABCD Stat Leaders)

7/10: From The Sporting News: "Lenny Cooke is having a breakout camp ... [he] has shown inside and outside skills as well as a good head and aggressiveness on both ends of the floor."

7/9: CNNSI's Brick Oettinger says Cooke is the best junior at ABCD: "Among the juniors, I have to mention one guy ... His name is Lenny Cooke who had an awesome day Saturday. He's played extremely well the whole time. He is certainly one of the best five rising juniors in country, and he really has shown how tough he is. He's the junior that particularly stands out." (link)

Inside Carolina Top Stories