Quinn Cook close to a decision
Duke, UCLA battling for PG, plus a look at Oak Hill and Hargrave dream teams and more
ROANOKE, Va. -- When Hargrave and Oak Hill tipped Thursday night, there was the potential for 18 to 20 Division I signees could be part of this contest. One of the featured performers was Oak Hill senior point guard Quinn Cook.
The former DeMatha Catholic floor general is Oak Hill's safety net at the point but he's recovering from a knee injury suffered in late August at the Boost Mobile game. Cook indicated he was 80 percent healthy and didn't have his usual burst or swagger.
"It's all mental for me," Cook said. "It's about confidence. My knee is physically fine it's just mental."
The knee isn't the only thing on Cook's mind. His college decision weighs heavily on him. Duke and UCLA separated themselves from Villanova and Cook's timetable for a decision, combined with him taking the standardized test this weekend, are factors working against the Wildcats. Not to mention the competition they face to land him.
"[UCLA] coach [Ben] Howland is a great coach," Cook said. "His past four point guards have been NBA players and he wins; he had three straight Final Fours."
Duke's pitch to Cook isn't shabby either. Cook said a coach from Duke was at every one of his AAU games last summer and he's fine with the committed players Duke has, in particular guard Austin Rivers, who is No. 1 in the ESPNU 100. Some speculated that the presence of Rivers might work against the Blue Devils. Cook doesn't see it that way.
"A lot of people have been telling me and my mom that Austin is going to play the point. [Duke] coach [Mike Krzyzewski] told me straight up that Austin is better on the wing when he creates," Cook said. "Austin also told me that he wanted me to be his point guard."
Cook isn't the only Oak Hill senior with the spotlight on his decision. Wing Ben McLemore trimmed his list to Kansas and Missouri, with Tennessee on the outside looking in. Both are close to final decisions, but "he's probably going to (commit) first," McLemore said Thursday.
Tigers coach Mike Anderson made the trip from Columbia to watch him play against Hargrave and looks forward to having him on campus this weekend for a quick visit. McLemore takes the SAT on Saturday and the plan is for him to hop on a plane and spend a day or two with Anderson. Not to put any pressure on the Tigers, but they have ground to make up here.
"Everybody knows my high interest is in Kansas," McLemore said. "After the (Missouri) visit, me and mom will sit down and talk."
Dream five on five
Hargrave's Kevin Keatts is too savvy to fall for Oak Hill's Steve Smith's tricks. This pair of elite coaches gather once a year to test their clubs against another worthy opponent. The gamesmanship, behind the scenes and leading up to the Hargrave-Oak Hill scrimmage, is part of the friendly rivalry.
"Every year he tells me that we're gonna destroy his team and they aren't that any good," Keatts said of his friend. Smith can play possum all he wants but Keatts knows playing Oak Hill gives his guys the chance to sharpen up for their rugged post-graduate schedule.
On Thursday, Hargrave was razor sharp. Its trio of P.J. Hairston (North Carolina), Robert Brown (Virginia Tech) and Dezmine Wells (Xavier) combined for 79 of the squad's 105 points as it scored a resounding scrimmage win over Oak Hill.
This time around, Keatts got the best of his friend. However, history is on Smith's side. During Smith's 26 years on the bench, he's coached 36 Parade or McDonald's All-Americans and collected six USA Today national championships. Oak Hill's all-time starting unit is ridiculous and it took some prodding before Smith settled in on his starting five.
Rajon Rondo, Brandon Jennings, Steve Blake, Ty Lawson and Stephen Jackson couldn't crack the list. Kevin Durant would have easily made Smith's list, but the Oklahoma City Thunder forward played his junior season for Smith before graduating from Rockville (Md.) Montrose Christian, making it tough for Oak Hill to lay full claim to his fame.
Smith's starting five is Josh Smith, Jerry Stackhouse, Ron Mercer, Rod Strickland and Carmelo Anthony.
This season begins Keatts' 10th at Hargrave and he owns a prep national championship and will be in the mix again this year. Like Smith, Keatts sports an impressive list of guys who didn't make his cut for the all-time five. Hargrave counts Joe Alexander, Marreese Speights, Lonny Baxter, Tyler Smith, Lorenzo Brown and Vernon Macklin amongst its alums.
Keatts rattled off Jordan Crawford, Josh Howard, David West, Korleone Young and Sam Young as the program's best all-time starting unit.
Now that would be a pretty good scrimmage to watch.
• Head coaches from Virginia Tech, Missouri, Radford and UNC-Asheville were in the crowd. The assistants' attendance list read Old Dominion, Xavier, Virginia Tech, UNC-Asheville, Missouri, Virginia, VMI, UTEP and Chattanooga.
• Coaches are always looking to establish pipelines in fertile recruiting areas. Xavier has one in North Carolina. Coach Chris Mack and assistant Pat Kelsey both have Wake Forest roots. Former Xavier star David West supports an AAU team in the state and the Musketeers signed Jay Canty last year and Wells is committed this season.
• Ohio State is committed to recruiting Oak Hill junior center A.J. Hammons, an Indiana native. "Ohio State is all over him," Smith said.
• Oak Hill junior small forward Jordan Adams is being actively recruited by Georgia, Miami, Wake Forest and Tennessee.
• Junior Damien Wilson, a starter for Smith, is on the wish list of South Carolina, Georgia, Auburn and Wake Forest.
Dave Telep is the senior basketball recruiting analyst for ESPN.com. His college basketball scouting service is used by more than 225 colleges and numerous NBA teams. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter.
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