When Marquis Cook says he’s relentless in his pursuit of the top spot in the 2023 class by summer’s end, it’s not the typical lofty wish every elite recruit writes on their subconscious vision board before the summer season commences.
“I mean it,” Cook said. “I just feel like I have what it takes to get it done.”
Cook’s confidence isn’t only rooted in his abilities and work ethic, it’s also heavily weighted in his experience after last summer’s crash course on what it takes to be top dog.
Fresh off productive freshman season at Jefferson (Portland, Ore.), Cook got thrown into the proverbial fire against a murderer’s row of elite upperclassmen which included Dior Johnson, Arthur Kaluma, Will McClendon, Frankie Collins and Jaden Hardy.
“It was rough!” Cook said. “Jaden Hardy is different. I played really good defense on him, but he makes tough, contested shots. Then he would tell me how the shot was gonna go in when he got it off, and he’d be right. That’s when I knew he was tough. Playing against him and all those other guys just gave me a confidence that took my game to another level.”
He parlayed that into a dominant season for Jefferson, averaging 22 points and 13 rebounds and five assists a game and leading the Democrats to a 14-3 record and a title.
That production led to a busy morning at midnight on June 15, the day the NCAA permitted college coaches to start unlimited contact to 2023 prospects.
Cook heard from Kansas, Auburn, Arizona, TCU, Arizona State, USC, Kentucky, Memphis, Texas Tech, Gonzaga, UCLA and Duke.
“It was fun to be able to talk to the coaches on my own,” Cook said. “Everyone was telling me my phone was gonna be blowing up, and they were right! It was a long night, but it was a blessing to be able to be in position to talk to them all.”
Cook will visit Gonzaga on June 30 for an unofficial, but said he plans to slow roll his recruitment going forward.
“I am open to everyone at this point,” Cook said. “I’ll go wherever, it’s all about the situation and the opportunity for me. I know a lot of the coaches said they’ll be watching me in July, so I’m excited for that. I’m taking my time with everything. No rush. I’m just focused on being at the top of my class.”