UPPER MARLBORO – NBA guard and former high school basketball star Quinn Cook was honored with his own “Quinn Cook Day” by County Executive Angela Alsobrooks in front of all his campers on Aug. 10 for his hard work on and off the court.
The honor comes at the tail-end of an adventurous summer for the former DeMatha Catholic High School star. After spending two years with the Golden State Warriors, including being a part of the team’s 2018 NBA Finals run, Cook became a restricted free agent and ultimately signed with the Los Angeles Lakers on July 6.
“This is the best feeling,” Cook said. “Being a kid from here, growing up and being proud of where I come from to have my own day again for the second-straight year, under the new county executive, is an honor and a dream come true.”
Born in Washington, D.C., Cook grew up in Prince George’s County after moving to Hyattsville at an early age. He attended DeMatha Catholic High School and played for three years before transferring to Oak Hill Academy for his senior year. During his time with DeMatha, the Stags had an 85-18 record. He was recruited to Duke University where he played for all four years before going pro.
Alsobrooks, a Duke alum as well, wore her Blue Devils jacket to the mini-celebration, which was held during the final day of the his fourth annual Quinn Cook Basketball Camp at the Family Life Center in First Baptist Church Of Glenarden.
“We are very proud of Quinn Cook and how he has excelled in sports, on the court and off the court,” Alsobrooks said. “We are so proud that he thought about his own community and to come back to help other kids succeed as well. This is a day of celebration for him but we are also surrounded by future Quinn Cooks in various areas that will come back and continue to build our area.”
The camp is a part of the Quinn Cook Foundation and welcomes children ages 6-17 sign up. Cook and his team of coaches work together to help improve all players of different skill levels. Campers will be divided into separate groups based on age and emphasize four key components: sportsmanship, leadership, nutrition and individual one-on-one skill assessment and evaluation.
“I look forward to come here and seeing these kids have fun and seeing them smile,” Cook said. “I take every picture, I sign everything because I know how much this means to the kids and it is the best couple of days for me.”
According to Janet Cook, Quinn’s mother and organizer for the camp, the foundation awarded 55 camp scholarships this year to include one student from every middle school in Prince George’s County. Scholarships were also award to churches and organizations supporting at-risk youth. To raise more money for future campers, they hosted the Ted Cook Memorial Golf Tournament, named after Quinn’s late father, on Aug. 9 at Enterprise Golf Course in Mitchellville, MD.
While the day was one of celebration, Janet Cook said it was one of reflection to see how far her son has come in his career and in life. After going undrafted in 2015, Quinn Cook bounced around before landing with the Canton Charge of the then-NBA Development League (now known as the G League). He spent two years with the Charge and was named Rookie of the Year after averaging 19.6 points per game.
The uncertainty of ever making it to a pro roster weighed on Quinn, his mother said. However, once he signed with the New Orleans Pelicans and then the Golden State Warriors in 2017, Janet Cook said his mentality changed and he stopped taking opportunities for granted.
“He’s grown a lot and the G League was humbling,” Janet Cook said. “When you go into the league straight, you have access to wealth and this and that at such a young age. But I think that by doing the grind work and staying on a budget because you’re not making that much money and you are taking public transportation and not staying in five-star hotels, it humbles you so when you get to that plateau or as you are on your way up, you view life differently.”
The camp has also allowed Quinn Cook to learn from campers as well. He admittedly told some of the children that he did not know how to tie a tie. On the last day, Suitland resident and Dr. Henry Wise Jr. High School student Zion Golden pulled out two ties to show the guard to properly execute the knot.
After five minutes and multiple attempts, Quinn Cook went around showing off his craftsmanship he learned while Golden smiled about the one-on-one interaction he had with one of his idols, calling it a “dream come true.”
“Not everyone knows how to tie a tie,” Golden said. “I was just like him, wanted to look with my hair and everything. Two years ago, I learned how to tie a tie and when I was teaching him, it took me that fast too. I was happy to teach him how to tie a tie because everyone needs to look formal.”
“That is the best part of this camp, building relationships,” Quinn Cook said. “When I was younger, if I knew an NBA player, I would feel like I was famous so being here, I see myself as a camper. I was just in their shoes a couple years ago so definitely, the best part is creating these relationships with these kids.”