Cook Still Has UNC #1

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C.--Daequan Cook has already established himself as one of the premier guards in the Class of 2006, and his 22 point (9-17, 0-1 3FG, 4-5 FT), nine rebound and nine assist performance on Tuesday at the Beach Ball Classic certainly did nothing to alter that status.

With his signature combination of high-flying dunks and silky smooth jumpers, Cook left spectators again reminded of just why so many of the nation's elite programs are hot on his trail.

While the recruiting process is still developing for Cook, he rattles off a list of contenders effortlessly when asked. As has been the case for months, two ACC schools headline his list--Wake Forest, who had assistant coach Dino Gaudio in attendance, and UNC--and three nearby institutions are also quickly off his tongue.

"Wake Forest, North Carolina, Cincinnati, Michigan and Ohio State are up there right now," Cook said. "The process has been going good and my options are still open as to what school I go to."

Cook is taking a measured approach to the recruiting process, keeping in consistent contact with the coaching staffs at the various schools which top his list. There is one school which has an intrinsic edge in the process because of a long-established liking Cook has maintained.

"That's still my #1 school, North Carolina," Cook said. "I've always liked them and they're not going anywhere."

Cook has been working with his coaching staff to continue steady contact with the coaching staffs prominently positioned in his recruitment, setting aside evenings to call each school and communicate with them as the process continues to work itself out. While the college coaches are limited in the contact that they can have with recruits, Cook is taking full advantage of the fact that he is allowed to reach out to them as often as he wishes.

"Me and my coaches will sit down on certain nights of the week and call three or four coaches so I can just stay in contact with a lot of coaches," said Cook of his voluntary contact with various staffs. "North Carolina has been recruiting me very hard, with letters and I've been in contact with their staff…they've been to see me play and so has Skip Prosser."

Cook cites the ability of his family to see him play as an important factor in his recruitment, which may give schools such as Ohio State, Cincinati and Michigan a boost against what is seemingly an ACC advantage. With the possibility of a package deal with AAU teammates Mike Conley and Greg Oden (if he ever sets foot on a college court) still something Cook would like to see materialize, there are likely to be many twists and turns still to come in his recruitment. He has not set a timeframe for a decision and is in no rush to do so, meaning that interested coaches are going to have a hard-fought battle throughout his prep career if they hope to garner his services.

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