Cook Optimistic Friends Will Follow Him

We caught up with Dayton Dunbar standout Daequan Cook during a break in the action at Friday's OSU team camp. Cook discussed playing in the event at his future school as well as the impending college decision for his two highly touted AAU teammates, Greg Oden and Mike Conley Jr. Click here for more.

Dayton Dunbar standout Daequan Cook is attending this weekend's team camp at Ohio State with his Dunbar teammates.

Cook, who verbaled to OSU on March 23, said he remains optimistic that a pair of his AAU teammates, Greg Oden and Mike Conley Jr., will end up playing alongside him with the Buckeyes.

Oden and Conley were due to attend the OSU camp as well with their Indianapolis Lawrence North team. But their team pulled out at midweek. Cook said his two friends were still working on deciding between OSU and primarily Wake Forest.

"They are getting toward it," Cook said when asked how Oden and Conley were progressing with their decision. "I'm not going to push them. The decision they're going to make is going to be best for them. We always said we would play college ball together. I feel very sure about us playing college basketball together."

Cook, ranked as the nation's No. 8 senior-to-be by, appeared at the OSU camp just days after joining Cook, Oden and 27 other top players at the USA Basketball Festival last weekend in San Diego. The seven-team tournament gave the top U.S. prep players a taste of international competition.

In five games, Cook led USA Red and was seventh overall in scoring at 16.2 points per game. He was also 20th in rebounding at 4.8. He averaged 26 minutes per game.

"It was fun," Cook said. "It was a good experience to go out there and meet some of the players you've never seen before. It was neat to compare your game to others and see what you need to improve at."

When asked who he spent time with in San Diego, Cook replied, "Just the usuals – Greg, Mike, O.J. (Mayo) and Billy (Walker). The rest of them I knew from around the circuit."

Cook also said he spent some time with Memphis standout Thaddeus Young, ranked fifth nationally. Young has also been considering Ohio State.

"We talked a lot about college ball and what school he's going to," he said.

On Friday night, Dunbar stopped New Castle, Ind., and Solon, which features standout junior-to-be Dallas Lauderdale. Dunbar rallied from an early deficit to rout Solon.

"They came out with a lot more intensity than we did because we had already played a game before that, but we stepped it up in the second half," Cook said.

Cook said his burly teammate, Aaron Pogue, held his own against Lauderdale.

"He did real good," Cook said of Pogue. "They went at each other strong. They went at each other pretty good."

Cook talked about getting the chance to play at Value City Arena, even if it was largely empty.

"It's fun," he said. "I love the environment here. I'm just getting used to it."

Cook had a chance to get a quick word as well with OSU head coach Thad Matta.

"We were talking about the games," he said. "He said he liked the way I played. That was it."

Cook's team was due to play three or four more 40-minute (running clock) games today. Does that kind of schedule wear a guy down?

"I'm used to it," Cook said. "I get tired, but I rarely show it."

That type of schedule is typical to the summer camp and AAU scene, where organizers try to cram as many games as possible into a tight timeframe. Cook discussed the busy month ahead, which will include the Reebok ABCD Camp July 4-9 in Teaneck, N.J. He will then ride out the summer with their Spiece Indy Heat AAU team with appearances at the Breakdown Hoops Festival July 13-16 in Miami, the Reebok Big Time tournament July 22-26 in Las Vegas and the USSSA National Championship July 28-31 in Fort Wayne.

"It's the best month," Cook said of July. "The ABCD Camp is the best camp to go to. Everybody is there. You get experience against the best players. They have the most top-100 players in the country. You get to meet new players and that's how you work and get better."

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