Levi Cook, who played at Liberty High School before transferring to Huntington Prep this year, got a return to his home area for the game. The 6-10 center has always expressed a strong affinity for his home town and region, and the visit back was a special one for him, even though he has only been at HP for a short time.
Crook, a junior, committed to WVU more than a year ago, and remains solid with the Mountaineers despite the increased attention his play at the national power pre school brings.
Area That Impressed: Cook has rounded his body into shape. A concern last season was the physical shape the Mountaineer commitment was in, but that appears to have been put to rest. On several occasion the games pace picked up, forcing an up-tempo style for long stretches. Cook looked to be in good enough physical condition to withstand the pace, and as he adds more strength, he should be an even tougher foe to handle inside.
Cook finished the night with 13 points and 13 rebounds. He also had a handful of dunks, including a powerful two-hand slam following an offensive rebound.
Area of Improvement: While certainly physical around the basket, Cook struggled to finish most of the night -- often times against a smaller defender. He would gain solid positioning around the hoop and showed flashes of positive post play. However, he found it difficult to finish around the rim. On some occasions Cook would have what appeared to be easy put backs but couldn't finish the play.
While that is a concern, Cook also has nearly two full seasons in which to put the refining touches on his inside game. Given the drive he has shown into reshaping his body, there doesn't seem to be any doubt that he will put in the work necessary to keep improving.
Afterward the game, Cook spoke about his hand injury he suffered during a car accident this past summer. While he said the hand had healed, he noted gripping the basketball completely is still difficult. That could easily lead to some of his struggles.
Overall Analysis: The move to Huntington Prep certainly appears to be paying off. Cook has improved in areas that likely wouldn't get as much attention playing West Virginia high school basketball. While his coaching in those ranks was very good, the level of competition he will face at HP -- both in practice and in games -- will be a major benefit.
Cook noted that playing a different level of competition has helped in game in several areas -- most notably competing against prospects his own size. That certainly rang true as Cook appeared to be very comfortable against defenders of the same height.
The improvement in his game since last year is easily noticeable. Having two more full season at Huntington Prep should only allow for continued improvement for the 2015 recruit.
A four star prospect by Scout.com, Cook is rated as the #14 center in the nation.