By B.J. Koubaroulis
Tuesday, June 29, 2010; D01
Quinn Cook, the All-Met Player of the Year for boys' basketball, will transfer from DeMatha to Oak Hill Academy, a national powerhouse in rural Virginia, for his senior year of high school, his mother Janet said Monday.
Cook, one of the nation's most sought-after recruits, averaged 20 points, 5.9 assists and 3.3 rebounds as a junior and led the top-ranked Stags (32-4) to the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship and City Title. The 6-foot guard is currently in Lithuania with the USA Basketball under-17 national team, which is preparing for the FIBA World Championships that will begin Friday in Germany.
Cook, reached in Europe via Facebook Chat, acknowledged the transfer but was not ready to comment further publicly until he spoke with DeMatha Coach Mike Jones. Janet Cook said the decision was made in an attempt to control her son's surroundings.
"He is very, very, very popular and he has a lot of people around him, some are like leeches, so this move is about getting him focused and into a safer environment," she said. "We agonized over this decision because we absolutely love Coach Mike [Jones]."
The DeMatha coach has acted as a father figure to Cook since Cook's father, Ted Cook, passed away during Quinn's sophomore year. Jones said that he was not surprised by Cook's decision to transfer.
"I've had plenty of conversations with his family about this," Jones said. "It's not like this came out of nowhere . . . He's going to be in my family personally and the DeMatha basketball family forever."
While some players transfer to prep schools in an attempt to rectify deficiencies in the classroom and become eligible to play in college, both Jones and Janet Cook said that academics did not factor into the decision to leave the Hyattsville Catholic school. Quinn Cook is in good academic standing, according to his mother.
"We're an educated family, and we're thinking outside the box here," she said. "This is about getting focused and preparing for the transition to college."
Said Jones: "He's become a celebrity here and a lot of people want his attention. As a 16-year-old kid, to be as popular as he's become, there's been some difficulty. The one thing I want to be clear on [is] that this has nothing to do with academics. This is not a basketball move either. No offense to Oak Hill, [but] he's not going to get anything there that he can't get here. This is about getting properly focused."
By enrolling at Oak Hill, a boarding school located in rural Mouth of Wilson in the southwestern part of the state, Quinn Cook would join a growing list of Washington-area players who have transferred to play for the Warriors. That group includes Nolan Smith, Kevin Durant, Julian Vaughn, Michael Beasley and Ty Lawson, as well as a handful of former DeMatha players such as Jeff Allen and Byron Allen.
Cook has openly discussed his admiration for Smith, a 6-foot-2 guard who led Duke to the NCAA title this past April. Smith is an Upper Marlboro native who played at St. John's (D.C.) and Riverdale Baptist before transferring to Oak Hill for his final two years of high school. Cook plays for the same AAU program that Smith did: D.C. Assault, which was founded by Smith's stepfather, Curtis Malone.
In an interview Monday, Janet Cook cited Smith's success at Oak Hill as a blueprint for her son to follow.
Cook emerged as one of the area's top players this winter thanks to his diverse skills; he was equally capable shooting from the perimeter as he was slashing to the basket. He made 102 three-point shots to lead area players. He put together consecutive strong performances in the WCAC final (30 points in a 71-52 win over rival Gonzaga) and City Title game (28 points in a 80-70 victory over No. 2 Ballou).
Most recruiting services have Cook ranked among the top 30 players overall and as high as the No. 3-ranked point guard in his class.