Waynesville School district
Boys Varsity Basketball
Schoch: Ozark's Cook latest D-I basketball commit from area
Sep. 16, 2013
The Ozark High School senior announced her commitment to attend and play basketball at Alabama at halftime of her high school’s football victory over Republic.
The 5-foot-10 guard/forward will join new head coach Kristy Curry, who comes to Tuscaloosa after seven years as head coach at Texas Tech.
Cook chose the Crimson Tide over Missouri State and Florida Gulf Coast. Creighton was in the mix for Cook in the summer, as well.
After landing local prospect Aubrey Buckley of Parkview, new MSU Lady Bears coach Kellie Harper nearly landed Cook as well.
“Hannah wasn’t even considering Missouri State until Coach Harper came along,” Cook’s father, David, told News-Leader correspondent Justin McMillin. “And then they hired Jackie Stiles (as assistant coach). That made Hannah take a second look and then it came down to Missouri State and Alabama.
“What Coach Harper has already accomplished, as far as the excitement about the program, is tremendous.”
Cook becomes the third Division-I commit from the area girls basketball scene, joining Buckley and Marshfield’s Lauren Aldridge, who will attend Kansas.
Cook said she is glad to have the decision behind her so she can focus on her senior season.
“It was probably the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make because I’m from here,” Cook told McMillin. “But Alabama just felt right. I’ve been stressing all summer over it.
“But it’s definitely Alabama and I’m thrilled to be going to there.”
Missouri State was trying to make it a double for local prospects, as coach Paul Lusk’s Bears recently secured a commitment from Willard’s Chris Kendrix, the area’s most sought-after men’s recruit.
That means most of the top senior basketball prospects in southwest Missouri have made college commitments.
The next major prospect is Waynesville’s Juwan Morgan, an athletic 6-foot-7 forward, who is entering his junior season.
Last week, Rivals.com rated Morgan as the nation’s 137th best prospect in the Class of 2015.
Morgan is one of two players in the state on the list, as Columbia Hickman’s Jimmy Whitt is No. 79.
Rivals lists Missouri State and Tulsa as schools with interest in Morgan.
Making the national list is significant for Morgan and the area, as no local player has finished their prep career in The Rivals 150 list since Branson’s Steven Hill was rated No. 37 and Rogersville’s Drew Richards was No. 110 in 2004.
You can expect Morgan and the Waynesville Tigers to have a strong season this winter and contend for an Ozark Conference championship.
Coach Chris Pilz and the Tigers also will most likely get a call from tournament director Mark Fisher to be in the 2015 Bass Pro Tournament of Champions.
Contact Matt Schoch
at (417) 836-1191 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MattSchochNL.