Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Cook Visits Florida, Still Wide Open

If the past few months have done anything for Elev8 big man Levi Cook, they've given him perspective.

Relegated to the spectator role, a torn ACL has reminded Cook just how much he misses the game.

At the same time, a desire to make up for lost time has grown within.

"This injury has made me hungrier than I ever thought I would be," said Cook, who visited Florida unofficially this weekend. "Being away from the game that long reminded me of how much I love it and miss it."

At 6-foot-10 and 286 pounds, Cook's post game and cerebral qualities now renders him a heavily sought-after high-major target. Since de-committing from West Virginia, programs such as Virginia Tech, Ole Miss, Providence, VCU, and Florida have upped their ante.

Cook has no current timetable. He said he'd like to let the process play out, rather than gun-jumping his decision as he did with WVU. As of right now, however, Virginia Tech is expressing the most consistent interest.

"Virginia Tech has by far shown me the most love, Coach Rock is great people," Cook said.

Cook, who visited Florida alongside Elev8 teammates A.J. Wilson, Kasper Christiansen, and Rodney Culver.

Florida has a unique appeal to Cook, as he watched the Gators faithfully during their back-to-back 2006 and 2007 NCAA championship conquests.

"Florida to me is like a dream school," Cook said. "I remember watching them defeat Ohio State in the championship game. They honestly had me thinking Corey Brewer was going to be the next Lebron James. They made me love basketball that much more. The coaches all seemed cool, which means a lot being it's the University of Florida."

Cook has shifted his focus to becoming more mobile this season, adapting to a furious paced attack. His role as a near-immovable interior presence will remain intact, with Cook providing hustle points, point-blank finishes, and becoming a high-efficiency threat.

He'll work on becoming more adept defensively, supplying adequate rim protection and using his size as effectively as possible. He describes his game as tailor-cut for a Big-10 school, a program which emphasizes a big, commanding post presence.

Though he'll be taking his sweet time with his NCAA decision, Cook is cognizant he's got this season and this season only to leave one final stamp on an illustrious prep career.

"I see no reason why we can't win a national championship at Elev8," Cook said. "It's as simple as that. I honestly just want to win a championship and pick the right school. I just want to take this recruiting process as slow as I can and enjoy it. I don't want to pull the trigger too fast this time. I need to make the right decision."