Scottsdale Desert Mountain High School's talented 6-foot-7 unsigned senior forward Austin Cooke has decided on a college home - making his decision on a local junior college program.
After carefully considering his recruiting options, Cooke has decided to take his game to Central Arizona Junior College next season - signing with head coach Jordan Dreiling and his staff recently.
Cooke had considered many schools during his recruiting process, including Southeastern Oklahoma, Mesa State and Nebraska-Kearney before deciding to head the junior college route, in an effort to maximize his college recruitment before moving on to a bigger school.
Cooke's father Jeff Cooke also played sports at a junior college during his college career.
Cooke is one of the state's best talents and also among the purest shooters of the basketball in Arizona. Cooke developed a great deal over the past two seasons, while playing under Desert Mountain HS head coach Todd Fazio and also for Brian Fabiano on his club program, the Arizona Redshirts - a team which Cooke played for since he was 10 years old. Cooke played this spring with the Arizona Magic Seniors, a team which won several tournaments this spring, including the Double Pump Spring Classic.
As a junior, Cooke helped lead the Wolves to a 21-8 record and the state semi-finals for the 5A Division-II Class. This season, as a senior, Cooke returned to have his best season of his high school career - helping Desert Mountain to many big wins late in the season. Desert Mountain again finished with a strong 20-10 overall record on the season - this time in the tough Division-I Class.
After knocking off Mesa Mountain View and Brophy Prep in the Section-III playoffs, Desert Mountain would fall to Section-III champion Pinnacle HS in the sectional championship game. They would then reach the second round of the Division-I state playoffs, before falling to eventual state champion and #1 ranked Corona Del Sol HS (55-43).
Cooke was a major part of the Wolves' success this season, as he shot the basketball with consistency and played out of position all season long for his team - rebounding hard and defending bigger post players often times. Whatever was needed of Cooke this season he was willing to do it for his team's success.
Cooke also turned heads in the fall at last year's Arizona Preps Fall Showcase, where he was in the running for the tournament's prestigious Most Valuable Player award, after playing at a high level throughout the weekend. West Coast scout Frank Burlison came away very impressed with Cooke's ability to stretch the defense with regularity.
Cooke was among the state's most sought after targets this spring, since he has very good size and length and has a serious shooting stroke which he is able to get off quite often and with ease. He also is left-handed - a nice feature to his game and making him tough to defend. Cooke will be able to play at either a small forward position or as a shooting guard at the collegiate level. Cooke is also a good ball handler for his size and is capable of handling the basketball in the open floor. He sees the floor very well and is a very unselfish player that is capable of making plays for hismelf or others.
Cooke is an adequate rebounder now, and as he continues to get stronger physically he will see his game take off a great deal over time with natural maturity. He needs to focus as a defender to reach his maximum potential as a player.
Cooke is also a very good student and is already a full academic qualifier.
Arizona Hoop Review Scouting Report: Cooke is among the most attractive targets in Arizona's 2012 senior class. A big 6-foot-7 shooter with excellent range on his shot and a quick, left-handed release - Cooke is a natural shooter with size - a nice attribute. He is fundamentally sound and is capable of stretching the defense consistently, while also being able to post up and score effectively around the paint with a variety of moves. He posseses very good footwork and gets into triple-threat position with the basketball in his hands. He is a good ball handler and passer, making him very versatile as a wing prospect. He is a solid rebounder. As he continues to put on size, and his frame suggests that he will be able to quite well, he will see his offensive game really take off. A very good passer that has an unselfish attitude and is a great teammate. A very good looking prospect that should develop nicely over time, and has good upside.