Iowa Men's Basketball

Tyler Cook not firmly in Iowa basketball fold for next season

"I can't answer that," Cook says when asked if he's returning

Iowa forwards Cordell Pemsl (35) and Tyler Cook (5) react to a first-half play in the Hawkeyes' 77-71 overtime loss to Michigan Thursday in the Big Ten tournament at New York's Madison Square Garden. (Nicole Sweet/USA TODAY Sports)
Iowa forwards Cordell Pemsl (35) and Tyler Cook (5) react to a first-half play in the Hawkeyes' 77-71 overtime loss to Michigan Thursday in the Big Ten tournament at New York's Madison Square Garden. (Nicole Sweet/USA TODAY Sports)

NEW YORK — Tyler Cook did nothing Thursday to smother rumors he may leave the Iowa men’s basketball program.

After the Hawkeyes’ season ended Thursday afternoon with a 77-71 overtime loss to Michigan, Cook was asked if he knew what he would do with the rest of his basketball career.

“I don’t,” he said.

“I can’t answer that one right now,” when specifically asked if he would finish his college career at Iowa. "All due respect, but I can’t answer that.”

He added “I’ve got to take care of my body, take care of my mind, see where we go from there.”

Asked again by another reporter if he were returning to Iowa for his junior season, he said “God only knows. Like I said, I can’t answer that right now.”

Cook said he would “relax, debrief a little bit, and start making my decision later on.”

Rumors, particularly from Missouri, have St. Louis-native Cook transferring to the University of Missouri. He would have to sit out a season were he to transfer somewhere.

He may also find out where he stands with the NBA. He can put his name in for the NBA draft, attend the NBA Draft Combine in mid-May, and can still withdraw by June 11 and return to college ball as long as he hasn’t hired an agent.

Cook said his inner circle is “Coaches, my family, my trainer, my uncle — all those people. I’ve got some good people in my corner.”

A 6-foot-9 forward, Cook averaged team-highs of 15.3 points and 6.8 rebounds for Iowa this season. They were 4-14 in the Big Ten and 14-19 overall.

Asked if he were confident his roster would remain intact next season (with the inclusion of high school recruits Joe Wieskamp of Muscatine and C.J. Fredrick of Cincinnati), Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery said “Yeah. I am.”

“Right now we don’t have any scholarships. If we had one, (adding a graduate transfer) is a possibility. It’s hard talking about hypotheticals.”

McCaffery said “We had a lot of guys get a lot of playing time and a lot of guys got better. I don’t think you can look at one guy and say he got worse.”

Speaking of transfers in general, McCaffery said “You occasionally have a guy who wishes he played more, wishes his role was different. The only thing I can do is ask every player to accept every role that we’ve defined for them. And then moving forward, that role can change depending upon how hard they work and how well they perform.”

McCaffery said he anticipates no change on his coaching staff, which has consisted of Sherman Dillard, Andrew Francis and Kirk Speraw since his first season at Iowa in 2010-11.

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“I hope one of them gets a head coaching job,” McCaffery said. “If that’s the case, then they’ll be gone. Otherwise, yes (the three will be back).”

l Comments: (319) 368-8840; mike.hlas@thegazette.com

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