Liberty Raleigh's Cook commits to Mountaineers
A few dreams came true Wednesday night.
One came true for Liberty Raleigh big man Levi Cook. One came true for West Virginia basketball coach Bob Huggins. And one came true spiritually when Cook, a 6-foot-101/2, 300-pound sophomore center, committed to play for the Mountaineers.
"It was my Papaw's dream for me to commit," Cook told the Gazette. "He's in heaven now, but [Wednesday] was his birthday. I thought this was the best present I could give to him."
Cook has been drawing comparisons to state legend Earl Jones of Mount Hope because of his stature. Last season, as a freshman, Cook averaged 18.6 points, 15.4 rebounds and 4.3 blocked shots. And he just turned 15 this past May.
"When I was in seventh grade I went to WVU's regular camp," Cook said. "I was playing against 18-, 19-year-old kids and holding my own.
"West Virginia offered this past summer. And it's always been my dream to be a Mountaineer."
Scott Long, Cook's AAU coach for the West Virginia Wildcats Select, said Cook "has by far the best potential of any kid we've had."
"He's by far the most talented kid at his age in regard to potential," Long said. "It's amazing how good he can be. He's got good hands, feet. He needs to get in better shape, but that's coming. If he'll buy into that, he can be as good as any center in the country.
"He's more comfortable on the blocks, pounding it in, and you just don't see that very often these days. You can't teach size, feet and hands like he has."
Cook said he also had an offer from Marshall. He's been checked out by schools such as Pittsburgh, Ohio State, Virginia Tech and Maryland.
"I went to three camps this summer and did really well at the one in Atlanta," Cook said. "I'm kind of like a Shaq [O'Neal]. I go up and try to dominate. I try to use my size to my advantage."
Cook has been somewhat of an Internet sensation. Video shot by an AAU teammate of Cook dunking and others of him blocking shots debuted on YouTube more than two years ago and have pulled more than 10,000 views.
Cook is the first 2015 commitment for Huggins.
Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, email@example.com or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.