Published Thursday, July 21, 2011 | 11:30 a.m.
Updated Thursday, July 21, 2011 | 4:30 p.m.
More UNLV Recruiting News
- Father helps Gorman’s Ben Carter stay focused as a player rather than a recruit (7-20-2011)
- When and where to see UNLV’s top 2012 recruiting targets this weekend in Las Vegas (7-19-2011)
- As July AAU season kicks off, a closer look at UNLV’s top 2012 recruiting targets (7-5-2011)
- UNLV receives first commitment for class of 2013 from 6-foot-8 Christian Wood (7-1-2011)
This week on LasVegasSun.com Sports Talk - doubling as The Rebel Room podcast - Ray Brewer and Ryan Greene break down a busy recruiting month for Dave Rice and his UNLV men's basketball staff. The crazy weekend in Las Vegas included three big tournaments, and the the guys will fill you in on who the staff made sure to go watch, who has emerged as the primary recruiting targets and who could likely be the next commit - or two - in the class of 2012.
Just 24 hours before a huge evaluation weekend in Las Vegas began for Dave Rice and his UNLV coaching staff, some big news came through their offices at the Thomas & Mack Center.
The first of five vacant scholarships in their 2012 recruiting class is now spoken for, as 6-foot-1 point guard Daquan Cook from Baltimore, Md., committed to the Rebels.
Cook, who plays for St. Frances High, chose UNLV over Washington, Seton Hall, Temple, South Florida, Maryland and a handful of others. Cook normally plays on the AAU circuit for Baltimore's Finest, and was scheduled to play in this weekend's adidas Super 64 at Rancho High with D.C. Assault. However, he will not be coming out to Las Vegas for the tournament due to an overlap with his summer school schedule.
The commitment fills a need for at least one point guard prospect in the 2012 class, as UNLV is set to lose a four-year starter in Oscar Bellfield to graduation following the 2011-12 campaign.
The possibility for early playing time was one of the factors that Cook said attracted him to UNLV, along with the uptempo style of play that was pitched by Rice.
"I didn't really want to speed (my recruitment) up, but coach Rice really showed me that he wanted me," Cook said. "He showed me that that's where I want to be and that's where I want to take my talents to."
Rice and his staff were apparently pretty convincing, as they got Cook to commit to UNLV without having ever been to Las Vegas or the campus. Cook said he plans on taking his official visit to UNLV sometime this fall.
The recruiting battle for Cook began to first pick up steam last summer after he was named the MVP in the 16-U division of the Super Showcase event in Orlando, Fla.
Cook got the attention of the UNLV staff earlier this summer through a connection with newly-hired UNLV assistant Heath Schroyer, who is from Maryland and still has several deep recruiting ties back there. After getting an impressive first impression upon seeing Cook play, the staff put on the press. Rice was most recently on-hand to see him play in a tournament in Milwaukee last weekend.
Securing a commitment from Cook now was huge for the Rebels, as Cook has begun to make a bigger name for himself this summer.
He built off of last summer's success some more in April, with a trip to Italy with an under-19 U.S.A. Elite Select team in April, where in the title game he tallied 31 points and took home tournament MVP honors. He averaged 21 points over the five-game run.
While he is capable of scoring big at times, UNLV coveted him because of his abilities as a pure point guard.
ESPN's scouting services grade Cook out at an 85 on a scale of 1-100, and he's seen by many at this point as a great under-the-radar get for the Rebels.