Tyler Cook, the leading scorer and rebounder on the 2017-18 Iowa men’s basketball team, announced Friday he was making himself an early-entry for June’s NBA Draft.
“After talking with the coaches and my family, I am going to test the NBA Draft process,” Cook said in a release sent by Iowa’s sports information department. “It is my dream to play professionally and not hiring an agent at this time allows me to see where I stand. I am following God’s plan and I am thankful for this opportunity. I appreciate all of the support that I continue to receive from Hawkeye nation.”
Cook averaged 15.3 points and 6.8 rebounds for Iowa this season, starting every game for the 14-19 Hawkeyes. He had 82 turnovers, 58 assists, 21 steals and 20 blocked shots. He averaged 12.3 points and 5.3 rebounds as a freshman, starting 26 games.
Cook is a 6-foot-9, 255-pound sophomore forward from St. Louis. He was a four-star recruit from Chaminade High School in St. Louis, which won Missouri’s Class 5 state-championship when Cook and Boston Celtics rookie Jayson Tatum were seniors on the team.
The NBA Draft Combine will be May 16-20 in Chicago. The NCAA deadline for early-entrants to withdraw and retain eligibility is May 30. Until then, Cook can work out for NBA teams and get an idea how they evaluate him as a draft prospect. The draft is June 21.
Cook isn’t listed on any NBA mock draft lists of prominent sports websites. He was named honorable mention All-Big Ten in the coaches’ and media’s panels.
As long as Cook doesn’t hire an agent, he will retain his college eligibility up through the deadline to withdraw for the draft. That’s what the Hawkeyes’ Peter Jok did in 2016 after his junior season.
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“Tyler should take advantage of this opportunity and we fully support his decision,” said Hawkeyes Coach Fran McCaffery. “I have spoken with Tyler and his family in depth and believe this is the right decision. This relatively new rule is a positive one for those in pursuit of their professional dreams. Peter Jok went through it in 2016, and found it to be beneficial as it allows athletes to gather information through workouts and interviews from NBA personnel. We will assist Tyler every way we can throughout this process.”
Ultimately, Jok didn’t receive an invitation to the combine in 2016 and returned for his senior season. He was a first-team All-Big Ten player in 2017. He now plays for the Northern Arizona Suns of the NBA G League.
No former Hawkeyes are in the NBA. Jarrod Uthoff and Adam Woodbury, who were seniors in the 2015-16 season, are also in the G League. Devyn Marble, who played 44 games over the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons with the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks, said last week that he intends to play in July’s NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.
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