With Nolan Smith graduating and Kyrie Irving likely the top pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, Duke has a huge hole fill at the point next season. Enter McDonald’s All-American Quinn Cook who is one of the top point guard recruits in the country.
(This is a Paul M. Banks/David Kay collaboration)
Cook comes to Duke from the powerhouse program at Oak Hill Academy. He is a well-rounded point guard who understands when he needs to be a true floor general and distribute the basketball. The 6-1 Cook also knows how to score whether it is with his shooting from distance or using his quickness to get to the rim. “People have compared me to Chauncey Billups, and Kemba Walker,” Cook stated at the MAA media day when asked who his game resembled. “I just try to be my own player.”
Billups and Walker are both proven winners which is the exact attitude Cook possesses which makes him a great fit with the storied Blue Devil program. When asked about his biggest strength, it was not his speed or quickness that he mentioned, but rather his drive. “I just hate losing,” Cook said. “I’m going to do whatever it takes and I’m going to try not to lose.”
That drive combined with the losses of Smith and Irving should have Cook competing for the starting point guard spot next season. Seldom-used as a freshman, sophomore Tyler Thornton will also battle for minutes at the one.
Cook isn’t the only freshman expected to make a major impact in the Duke backcourt next season. Fellow McDonald’s All-American Austin Rivers will add to an already talented core of returning shooting guards in Seth Curry and Andre Dawkins. “He’s a great friend,” Cook said of Rivers. “We haven’t played with each other much, but I know when we get up there, our chemistry is going to click.”
Duke will also have a lot of talent and versatility in the frontcourt including all three of the Plumlee brothers, freshman small forward Michael Gbinije, and Alex Murphy who was originally a 2012 recruit but chose to graduate high school early and relocate to the 2011 class; the same thing Dawkins did a couple of summers ago.
With all that talent, Coach K. has another loaded team that should be near the top of the 2011-2012 pre-season rankings. However, Cook’s acclimation in replacing Smith and Irving in becoming the Blue Devils’ floor leader could determine just how far this team goes come March.
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.
You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.
He does a regular guest spot each week for Chicagoland Sports Radio.com You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank