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The question is no longer if Omar Cook will be selected in the first round of the NBA Draft on June 27, but rather where the soon-to-be former St. Johns point guard will be picked, thanks to a breakout performance at the NBA pre-draft camp in Chicago earlier this month.
Experts now believe that Cook, who had 23 assists in three games during the pre-draft camp, will be the first point guard selected, ahead of New Yorkers Jamaal Tinsley of Iowa State and Kenny Satterfield of Cincinnati.
Cook, who led the Red Storm in scoring (15.3) and was second in the nation with 8.7 assists per game behind Markus Carr of Cal State-Northridge, has impressed scouts with his ability to run the floor, his uncanny ability to pass and his solid 6-foot-1, 190-pound frame.
Golden State, which needs a point guard, is reportedly interested and may pick Cook with the No. 14 overall selection. The Warriors brought in the former Christ the King standout for a workout last weekend.
Cook, who has yet to sign with an agent, also worked out for Vancouver and Seattle and may also go to the Boston Celtics, who also appear interested in drafting a point guard. Boston owns the 10th, 11th and 21st selections. Orlando, which has the 15th and 22nd pick overall, is also reportedly interested in Cook.
I think hes obviously a skilled player and he has been for some time, said one Eastern Conference scout. We like his quickness and we like his toughness. He obviously has to improve his shot selection and his perimeter game, but he has the gumption to take that last-second shot and you gotta like that.
Cook, who was projected to be a late first-round pick when he declared himself eligible for the draft on May 7, has seen his stock rise lately thanks to some strong workouts and his performance at the pre-draft camp, where he reportedly outplayed Satterfield.
While Cook, who was named third team All-Big East last year and joined Seton Halls Eddie Griffin as the only freshmen to be selected to an all-conference team, has dazzled scouts with his passing ability, his outside shot is still a major question mark. He shot 36 percent from the field last year.
He has since worked with shooting coaches Ivory Manning of New York City and Rodney Heard of Atlanta.
Another Queens standout who is hoping to hear his name called is Karim Shabazz, a 7-foot-2 senior center, who averaged 8.9 points and 7.4 rebounds per game and had 66 blocks for Providence last year.
Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 143.
©2001 Community Newspaper Group
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