He considers LeBron James a mentor and Kyrie Irving a close friend. Kevin Durant sends him text messages and Snapchats after games. Is he Odell Beckham Jr.? Nope. He’s actually Quinn Cook of the Canton Charge. And he’s making his case for the NBA.
You may remember Cook from the Duke team that defeated Wisconsin in the 2015 NCAA Championship. Before that, you may have known him as a McDonald’s All-American, or yet another star alumnus in the lineage of prep basketball powerhouses DeMatcha Catholic (Victor Oladipo, Jerami and Jerian Grant) and Oak Hill Academy (Carmelo, Durant, Rondo).
Cook went undrafted in 2015; it’s easy to see how he might have been overlooked on a loaded Duke roster that featured four future NBA players, including lottery picks Jahlil Okafor and Justice Winslow.
After a Summer League stint and six preseason games with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2015, Cook was waived and promptly acquired by the NBA D-League’s Canton Charge.
Now in his second season, he has risen to No. 8 on NBADLeague.com Prospect Watch, a number that could very well increase after a dominant performance at the NBA D-League Showcase. Cook was named to the All-Showcase First Team after averaging 33.5 points on 60% shooting and 8.0 assists.
Cook has been averaging 25.7 points and 6.2 assists per game on the season. It’s been a strong sequel to his rookie campaign, which saw him take home Rookie of the Year honors — and a shoutout from LeBron James:
— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 11, 2016
“When he sent out the tweet, it meant a lot to me,” Cook said. “Best player in the world, he doesn’t have to do that. But just for him to recognize what I’ve been doing … I’m just blessed to have one of my idols be like a big brother to me.”
A high school-aged Cook first met his mentor when he attended the prestigious LeBron James’ Skills Academy. The relationship continued at Duke, as LeBron is close with Blue Devils head coach Mike Kryzewski after three Olympic tours under Coach K for USA Basketball.
The relationship only grew closer during Cook’s time with the Cavaliers.
“When I got to the Cavs in Summer League, he took me under his wing,” Cook said of James. “Then when I got to training camp, I was like his little brother. … I saw him a couple times this summer and he told me just to stay the course.”
James isn’t the only NBA star who has sought to aid Cook on his journey to the NBA. When Cook returns to his hometown of Washington D.C., he watches game film at John Wall’s house, saying, “I try to be a sponge.” In addition, Cook seeks guidance from Durant, whom he calls another “big brother,” Oladipo and Bradley Beal.
With the way Cook has been balling, he may soon be playing with or against his mentors on a nightly basis.
In the Charge’s final game of the Showcase, Cook dropped 40 points and 8 assists, shooting 13-of-20 from the field, 3-of-6 from three-point range and 11-of-13 from the foul line.
Asked about his thoughts on the performance after the game, Cook said, “I know I’ll get a text or snap from KD [Kevin Durant] saying, ‘Good game… Make your free throws.’”