March 24, 2011
Cook's addition gave Valencia a versatile and talented three guard rotation of him, Rafa Martinez and Nando De Colo. Valencia go only three deep in the backcourt, as opposed to most rival teams; young prospect Jose Simeon is the de facto fourth option, yet he does not play every game, and averages only 7 minutes a contest. (In the event of emergency, Valencia also called up career minor leaguer David Navarro to serve as a last ditched resort open at two guard. But he should not be expected to play.) Valencia might not have a trustworthy fourth option at the guard spots, but they also don't need one. Cook is one of the finest pure points around, averaging 7.2 points and 5.5 assists in 29 minutes per game, constantly pressuring the defense, looking for seams, and hitting cutters. He is shooting less than 40% for the season, overdribbles at times, and any improvements seen in his jumpshot in the last few years seem to have taken a backwards step this season, but his defense has improved, and his intangibles ever present. Cook's presence has moved De Colo into more of a combo guard role, and less of a pure point guard one. It's not working out optimally - De Colo needs the ball in his hands in order to be successful with his isolation scoring, which is harder to do with Cook around, and De Colo's impact without the ball is limited by his sub 30% three point shooting. Nevertheless, it's still an incredibly talented duo capable of carving up defense. And there are no such cohesion problems with Martinez, a highly capable all-around player, noted most for tough defense and outside shooting, but also able to make some plays, and get to the rim and finish, despite his relatively small size.
June 19, 2010
Montenegro aren't factors in the world of sport generally, but they can play basketball. They can particularly produce big men. NBA draft picks Nikola Pekovic and Slavko Vranes are listed there, as are Peja Drobnjak (who churned in a few seasons of high comedy) and Vladimir Dasic (who might be drafted this year). Former NBA draft picks no longer involved in the national team setup, but who once were, include Zarko Cabarkapa and Mladen Sekularac. There's also Dante and Galante favourite Vladimir Golubovic, as well as Milko Bjelica, a quality player with a name like a pudding. And there's always Sasha Pavlovic, which is.....cool.
However, they've struggled to find as much guard quality. Montenegro have a couple of decent guards placed in strong European leagues - Vlado Scepanovic with Murcia in Spain, Goran Jeretin with Aliaga in Turkey - but their guard production does not have the pedigree of their big man production. To counter that, two years ago, the team recruited ex-St John's point guard Omar Cook, who has played the position for the national team ever since.
June 19, 2010
Speaking of Malaga; in contrast to previously reported news, it transpires that they did not actually retain the services of Omar Cook after all. Cook is a quality point guard in Europe, and he shouldn't have problems finding new work. Additionally, as initially reported, David Logan has joined Caja Laboral on a three year deal. He replaces Carl English, who has left the team. And Le Mans quickly found a replacement for Marc Salyers, bringing in former Detroit Mercy forward Ryvon Covile. Ryvon averaged 9.4 points and 4.8 rebounds for Entente Orleans last season.
January 24, 2010
- Omar Cook
Montenegrin national team starter Omar Cook is one of the best point guards in Europe. His team Unicaja Malaga have turned over their backcourt recently, replacing Taquan Dean and Shammond Williams with Juan Dixon and Zabian Dowdell, but Cook remains a mainstay and one of the best passers on the continent. He averages 9.3 points and 5.7 assists per game in 25 minutes per game in the ACB, alongside 8.9 points and 6.0 assists per game in the Euroleague. If those assists numbers don't look like much, consider:
a) the minutes played.
b) the fact that assists are far harder to get in Europe; double the number and subtract a bit for their NBA equivalents.
c) the fact that the Euroleague and the ACB represent the second and third best standards of basketball in the world, and Cook is second in them both in assists per game.
Maybe now you'll understand why he is badass.
Also note; in 19 ACB games this year, Cook has only scored in double figures 6 times. One of the, however, was a 35 point explosion.