Today’s news:

Omar Cook signs contract with Boston Celtics

Omar Cook, a former basketball star with both St. John’s University and Christ the King High School, signed a multi-year contract with the Boston Celtics on April 16, but was not added to the club’s playoff roster, the organization announced last week.

Cook, who left St. John’s after his freshman year, was originally drafted by the Orlando Magic with the 32nd overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft. He was then traded to the Denver Nuggets in exchange for a first-round pick, but was waived on Oct. 25. He was later signed and subsequently waived by the Dallas Mavericks.

The contract pays Cook $75,000 this season and acts as an invitation to the Shaw’s Summer League, where he will have an opportunity to earn a roster spot next season.

“Not having a selection in the first round of the upcoming draft, Chris Wallace [Celtics general manager] and I felt we were able to acquire a player in Omar, who, without question, would be a first-round pick this year,” said Celtics director of player personnel Leo Papile. “It’s our opinion that at some point in the future, this young man could be a starting point guard in this league.”

If the 20-year-old Cook makes the Celtics’ roster next season, he likely will back up current Boston starter and fellow CHSAA alum, Kenny Anderson. Anderson, a Lefrak City native, attended Archbishop Molloy before starting at Georgia Tech and eventually in the NBA.

The terms of Cook’s contract state that because he was a second-round draft selection, he will be a restricted free agent after next season.

Cook played with the Fayetteville Patriots of the National Basketball Developmental League for 25 games this past season and averaged 12.2 points and a league-high 7.8 assists, earning All-NBDL second team honors.

As a freshman at St. John’s, Cook led the Red Storm with 15.3 points and 8.7 assists per game while adding 3.0 rebounds per game. Cook’s 8.7 assists per game placed first in the Big East and second in the nation.

Reach Sports Editor Anthony Bosco by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 130.

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