We sat down with 2023 PG Dino Cook Jr to learn about him and his basketball background.
Q: What does normal your day look like?
A: My dad I wake up around 4:45 AM and drink a protein shake, and then get to the gym by 5:15AM, usually for an hour of dribbling then form shooting. Then I go to school obviously, then after we will go back and shoot about 500-600 shots, and then work on something we feel is a weakness.
Q: How are you doing in school?
A: I have a Cumulative GPA of 3.8: I will be taking an AP course next year to hopefully bump it up over a 4.0.
Q: What do you believe are your weaknesses?
A: Finishing. So, my trainer and I will be working on finishing all summer.
Q: How do you plan to improve your finishing game?
A: Working on different pick-ups, learning how to use the high part of the glass, and working on finishing through contact — lots of live drills.
Q: Who will you be training with? Do you mostly train with your dad?
A: I train with my dad quite a bit, and I used to train with Tyler Herro’s trainers Drew Dunlop, Bryan Donaldson, and Andy Monfre.
But I really believe in this trainer named Ace Valeriano— he is so detailed and is an expert in his craft, so he will be my trainer, but I call him the Mexican Drew Hanlen.
Q: What do you believe are your strengths?
A: Shooting IQ, defense, and moving without the ball. I have learned a lot from Tyler Herro’s dad, (Chris Herro) especially defensively. He was my coach for two years.
Q: What team did Chris Herro coach that you were on? Is Austin on your team?
A: It was Whitnall Youth basketball team in 7th and 8th grade. Austin was on my team at that time and now we play for two different high schools.
Q: Where are you going to be going to High School next year?
A: I will be going to Kingdom Prep Lutheran High School.
Q: What advantages do you think there is by having your dad as a coach?
A: I don’t think I have an advantage; I think the blessing is that he will coach me hard like we will do with the other players. Now he teaches English and coaches. The advantage is he will hold me accountable.
Q: How long has he been the head coach at Kingdom Prep Lutheran?
A: This will be his first year as head coach, he was assistant coach the previous two years.
Q: Did you enjoy the CP3 Rising Star Camp in 2019?
A: The CP3 Rising Star Camp was great, everyone was there. I was trying to find the booklet with all the players that attended but couldn’t find it. Most of the kids are or have received D1 offers already. I played really well there.
Q: What do you think you learned from the camp? What did you take away most?
A: I learned that I could compete with the best kids in the country.
What I took away most was a boost in confidence. I watched a lot of the kids highlights on Instagram before going thinking I was a step behind them, but I was not.
Q: What showed you that you were able to stay with them, in your opinion?
A: I was able to score against Gusbus, Aden Holloway, and Jacobe Johnson and I scored in all different ways (jump shot, floater, and baby jump hook).
As well as defend them, I wanted that challenge no matter what (win, lose, or draw). Gusbus was on the bench hurt for Playground Club when I hit 7 threes against them, it was about a month ago or maybe three weeks ago. I play my best against the best teams; I want all the smoke.
Q: Have you gone or are you going to any camps this summer?
A: Yes, I was just invited to the Crossroads Camp in Wichita in late August. That is a very elite camp.
Q: Are you playing any other ball this summer? Camps, AAU, etc.
A: AAU in July. HS Summer league starts this Wednesday and that’s every Wednesday in June.
Q: What AAU team are you playing on in July?
A: World Hoops Elite and maybe another team on the weekends when World Hoops does not play.
Q: I know it may be a bit far out, but are there any schools that might interest you?
A: Howard, Georgetown, Virginia, UMBC, Columbia, Valpo, Maryland, UWM, and VMI. I used to live in Baltimore, I love the east coast plus my mom lives in Philadelphia. My dad has been a single father for like 12 years, that’s the reason for a lot of east coast colleges.
Q: What makes those schools come to mind, other than the location?
A: I love the coaches, especially Tony Bennett and Patrick Ewing, my dad used to attend Dick Bennett camps when he was in HS. My dad speaks highly of Tony Bennett because he played against my uncle David Cook in HS. Education is the #1 reason.
Q: One last question before we let you go, what type of player will a school be getting if they land you?
A: A player that puts God, family, and community service first!
Devin: Great answer, Dino. Can’t wait to keep in contact with you and watch you grow throughout the rest of your journey! Please send me some film on your AAU season and the camps if you can. Also let me know how you play!
Dino: First of thank you for this interview and believing in me. It just gives me more drive to be better than I am today! I wish you both much success in all your aspirations! Thank you for this! ❤️🙏🏼🙏🏽 I will keep you posted!
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