On Wednesday night, Durant made an appearance at the grand opening of the College Track at the Durant Center in Suitland. The after-school program provides study space and guidance for the college application and enrollment process as well as through graduation.
“It feels good. It’s something that impacts where you come from,” Durant said after making 9 of 18 shots with five assists and three blocks. “I’m sure a lot of people feel the same way about their community.”
While the lion’s share of attention from fans and media centered on Durant, who played his senior year of high school at Montrose Christian, Warriors teammates Quinn Cook and Marcus Derrickson also relished being back in the area where they spent much of their youth.
Neither Cook nor Derrickson got to play in the game, however, with the outcome still somewhat in doubt until late in the fourth quarter of the Warriors’ win.
“Definitely a great feeling growing up and going to as many Wizards games as I can remember,” Cook said. “Seeing all the great stars coming here to D.C. Going out there as a kid trying to get their autograph, trying to say hi to those guys.
“To come back, it’s come full circle. It’s amazing to have friends and family come watch you play. Definitely one of the best parts of being in the NBA.”
Cook was The Washington Post All-Met Player of the Year in 2010 as a junior and went to play at Duke. Also on the 2010 All-Met first team were, among others, Cook’s DeMatha teammate Victor Oladipo (Indiana), Bishop O’Connell’s Kendall Marshall (North Carolina) and Georgetown Prep’s Markel Starks (Georgetown).
Cook signed a two-year deal with the Warriors on April 8, making him eligible for last postseason. Golden State initially had signed Cook to a two-way contract on Oct. 17, 2017, during which time he set a career high with 30 points during a 116-107 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on March 29.
He’s averaging 7.6 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.7 assists this season, having played in 41 games, starting eight.
“I think everybody likes going home and playing in front of family and friends, getting to the old stomping grounds,” Warriors Coach Steve Kerr said during his pregame availability. “I’m really happy for Marcus who just flew in yesterday, and obviously Kevin and Quinn came in a day early to attend Kevin’s event.”
Cook remains close friends with Oladipo, who suffered a season-ending injury on Wednesday night, leaving the Indiana Pacers without their leading scorer at 18.8 points per game.
“I was messed up,” Cook said of his reaction upon learning about Oladipo’s injury. “My girl told me about it, and I saw it. I talked to him last night. He’s in good spirits. Obviously that’s part of the game. You never want to see somebody go down like that, but if anyone can come back from that, he could.
Derrickson, meanwhile, came back to the city of his birth on a two-way contract signed on the heels of a strong showing before the regular season that included averaging 13.1 points and five rebounds in eight summer league games.
The 6-foot-7 forward played three seasons at Georgetown, including as a junior under Patrick Ewing. He also spent three seasons at Paul VI Catholic before transferring to Brewster Academy in New Hampshire for his senior year.
“It’s still home court,” Derrickson said in the locker room before the game. “I was getting warm-up shots earlier. It’s just the same. It feels great seeing familiar faces everywhere, just positive energy being in this atmosphere.”
Derrickson has played in six NBA games this season, averaging 2.8 points. He’s averaging 15.8 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists for the G-League’s Santa Cruz Warriors.
He was one of three former Hoyas players in uniform on Thursday, joining the Wizards’ Jeff Green and Otto Porter Jr. Derrickson, Green and Porter all played for ex-Georgetown coach John Thompson III, who was replaced by Ewing before last season.
After the game, Kerr indicated he would have inserted Derrickson had Golden State’s lead been larger in the fourth quarter. The Warriors led 108-106 with 7:47 to play before embarking on an 18-5 run.
“I had Marcus Derrickson from Georgetown on the bench,” Kerr said. “I would have loved to play him. I felt we let him down a little bit by taking our foot off the gas.”