Leading up to the draft, Hoops Rumors will be talking with some of the most intriguing prospects in this year’s class. Today, the Hoops Rumors Draft Prospect Q&A series continues with Duke guard Quinn Cook, who is ranked No. 62 in this year’s class by both Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress and Chad Ford of ESPN.com.
After helping Duke win the National Championship, Quinn Cook couldn’t have asked for a better way to end his collegiate career. Now, he’s busting his tail on the draft circuit in order to solidify his place on draft boards around the league. Cook told Hoops Rumors (Twitter link) that he has the Nets, Knicks, Jazz, Lakers, Clippers, and Thunder all on his workout schedule and there could be even more to come. The speedy point guard spoke with Hoops Rumors recently about Coach K, making funny faces during games, and his draft stock heading into June 25th.
Zach Links: How much did it mean to you to end your college career in the best way possible, with a National Championship?
Quinn Cook: It meant a lot to me to end my college career as a champion. I had some tough losses in my four-year career at Duke. To leave winning the tournament, that’s the best thing you can do as a college player. I’m just really proud of my team.
ZL: Do you think you might be better prepared for the NBA than other guys in this year’s class thanks to your time spent playing for Mike Krzyzewski?
QC: Definitely. He’s the best coach of all-time and for him to have the respect of guys like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, KD [Kevin Durant], it just shows how great he is. He has coached everybody, but he has also learned from these guys. He learns from other coaches too like Tom Thibodeau and Monty Williams. He prepares us very well. Guys who leave our program have a leg up going into the pros because we’ve been around Coach K. He’s a pro’s pro.
ZL: At 6’2″, you’ve shown that you can give taller opponents trouble. Is that something you pride yourself on?
QC: That’s going to be my niche in the league. I think I’m going to be a guy who comes off the bench and causes havoc for the guys on the other side of the ball.
ZL: At your banquet ceremony this year, you spoke a bit about becoming the leader of your Duke team. When did you really start embracing that leadership role and what do you think makes for a great leader in a locker room?
QC: I started embracing that after we were eliminated from the tournament in my junior year. From March 2014 onward, I was determined to be a leader.
To be a leader I think you first have to lead by example. Some guys are more vocal than others, but I think the leader has to be there every day and lead by example more than anything. You can be a “rah rah guy,” as we say at Duke, but the leader has to be the first one in and the last one to leave, setting the tone for everybody.
ZL: What’s the main thing you want to work on?
QC: Everything. I want to just get better in every aspect of the game. I want to be a more consistent shooter off the dribble, finish around rim better, and defend the ball better.
ZL: Do you have an idea of where you might be drafted?
QC: I’m a second round guy. It could be anywhere in the second round. I was a champion and an All-American at Duke, I think I have a solid resume and I think I performed really well at the combine. Hopefully, I’ll get my name called.
ZL: You spent your first three years of high school at DeMatha before transferring to another high school powerhouse in Oak Hill Academy. What was the reason for that change?
QC: I just wanted a new challenge. My best friends, Jerian Grant and Victor Oladipo, they were at DeMatha with me and that was a lot of fun, but I needed a new challenge. My mom had a great relationship with [Oak Hill head coach] Steve Smith so I decided to go there and team up with Ben McLemore.
QC: It was fun! You kind of forget how big the NCAA tournament is and how many people pay attention to it. It was cool to see a few pics go viral and for me to become Instagram and Twitter famous. My teammates kept sending me new pictures that popped up and my friends were too, so that was funny.
ZL: Why Tandem and Jim Tanner?
QC: They’re first class. Jim is first class and everybody in the office is first class. I was comfortable with them…It was a tough decision but I made the right one.