Daequan Cook made a huge splash on the Buckeye nation last Wednesday when he made a surprise announcement that he was giving a verbal commitment to Ohio State. The question now remains -- how will that verbal affect the Ohio State recruiting efforts?
On Friday, Bucknuts spoke with Dayton (OH.) Dunbar assistant coach Al Powell to find out how Cook's verbal transpired, and what to look for from here on forward.
Cook, who averaged 21.7 points a game this season for Dunbar, who lost 95-90 in the Division II state semifinals to Upper Sandusky, finished as the co-player of the year in Division II and chose Ohio State over Wake Forest, North Carolina, and Michigan.
Recently, however, there really was one main school.
"He was heading that direction for quite some time, and when he went up to the Illinois game, followed by getting to play up at Value City Arena, that really got him thinking about how exciting it would be to play for Ohio State," Powell said.
Ohio State had been in Cook's mind for a while, but the upset win that Ohio State had against Illinois followed by Dunbar's trip to Columbus for the Division II final four sparked excitement in Cook's mind.
It all came to a head last Monday night at 1:00 in the morning when an excited Cook phoned Powell.
"He called and at first I thought something might be wrong so I asked him if everything was all right," Powell said. "He said, 'Coach, I know where I want to go'."
"I asked him what he wanted to do exactly, and he said he wanted to go up to Ohio State to visit (the next day). So I told him we were going to leave at 8:30 AM (Tuesday). I didn't think he was going to commit. We went up with his mother and I just thought he was going to ask a lot of questions and try to get informed on everything else. He asked some questions and then he said he wanted to commit right there. I guess I was caught a little off guard just because I wasn't expecting he would do it right there just yet," Powell added.
He did conclude that the commitment to Ohio State was not a surprise, as it was something he expected from Cook eventually.
Even so, the two schools that were also being considered by his friend (6-1 PG) Mike Conley Jr., were the same two Cook had seriously considered in the end.
"He had pretty much narrowed it down to Ohio State and Wake Forest, and that's also where Mike had been considering," Powell said. "We're all very happy for him, and he's very excited to be a Buckeye."
Upon committing, Cook phone Conley's father, Mike Conley Sr. to tell him the news. Conley Sr. was on the road away from home, so the message was slow in getting back to the younger Conley.
Preparing for a state championship the upcoming week, Cook didn't want to burden Conley and figured he would talk to him soon enough. So Conley was a little late in finding out.
"Daequan did call Mike's father, but since Mike and Greg (Oden) had a state championship game coming up, Daequan didn't want to bother him out of respect," Powell said. "They talk probably a couple of times a month. It was a whirlwind couple of days for Daequan, and he said he would go ahead and talk to Mike about it later."
With Cook's decision out of the way, he now puts on the recruiting hat for Ohio State. He single-handedly has become proactive in trying to lure the top talent with him to Ohio State.
For Cook, it starts with Conley and Greg Oden, the talented junior pair from Indianapolis (IN) Lawrence North.
"He would love to have Mike and Greg come with him, but they will have to make their own decisions a couple of months from now," Powell said. "He is going to be the biggest salesman around them for the next several months."
"They are roommates on the road, so they will probably be hearing a lot of the Ohio State fight song," Powell added jokingly.
Regardless of who joins Cook, he made the decision he wanted to make. There's very little that could stop Cook from ultimately going to Ohio State.
Right now, however, there's only one thing on Cook's mind.
"He's been receiving mail legally or illegally since he was in the 8th
grade from colleges," Powell said. "He has waited for this for a
while. He loves Ohio State and he's always dreamed of this type of moment. He
didn't even take any official visits, so this is where he wants to be."
*For more on Cook, Conley, Oden, Cook's conversations with David Lighty and Raymar Morgan, the possibility of the NBA, and much more, Bucknuts subscribers can read the upcoming "Schott in the Arm" column, posted on the Club Subscriber Basketball Forum.