A couple weeks ago, Ozark High School basketball standout Hannah Cook said she had narrowed her options to Missouri State and Creighton and that a decision would come soon.
But then her phone kept ringing.
Thanks to a strong summer with the Missouri Valley Eclipse AAU team, the 5-foot-11 wing has played her way into the next tier of recruiting prospects, and now has a bigger list of suitors to consider.
Cook received two scholarship offers after her team’s strong finishes at tournaments last weekend in Cincinnati and Nashville, Tenn.
Alabama and Florida Gulf Coast offered spots to Cook, adding to her haul, which now numbers 12 schools.
“It’s been a little overwhelming, but I’m enjoying it,” Cook said Tuesday night. “Sometimes, I have to step back, and say ‘Whoa.’ But it’s a good experience.”
Before last week, Cook already had offers from Creighton, the Lady Bears, Drake, Missouri-Kansas City, Southeast Missouri, George Mason, Alabama-Birmingham and Denver, along with Division II schools Drury and Harding (Ark.).
Cook said Tuesday night she has received interest from other larger schools recently, most notably Seton Hall, Dayton and Kansas State.
Cook was an All-Ozarks selection this winter for coach Yancey Little’s Lady Tigers, sharing co-Central Ozark Conference Large Division Player of the Year honors with Republic’s Alice Heinzler. She averaged 15.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.7 steals and 3.3 assists for the COC champs and was an all-state selection by the media and coaches association.
“I think I’ve grown up over the last year,” Cook said. “I don’t get down on myself anymore. I’ve worked on my jumper, and I think that’s helped a lot. I think my defense — I go a lot harder on defense, too.”
She’ll return to the Lady Tigers for new coach David Brewer as one of the area’s most accomplished players this winter, and perhaps as a D-I commit.
Cook had said she would likely commit in the summer, but the Alabama offer could change her timetable.
Now, she said she might take an official visit to Tuscaloosa in the fall, attending a football game to soak in the Southeastern Conference atmosphere to see it’s for her.
She said a summer commitment soon might still be possible, though.
Cook would become the third area player in the Class of 2014 to commit to a Division I women’s basketball program, joining Parkview’s Aubrey Buckley (Missouri State) and Marshfield’s Lauren Aldridge (Kansas).
Cook also has a couple of other opportunities to impress college coaches, as the Eclipse play next week in an Overland Park, Kan., tournament, and then close the summer July 27-29 at a national tournament in Augusta, Ga.
Brewer, who is shifting to Ozark from Strafford, was impressed with Cook’s abilities during her summer work with the Lady Tigers.
“You don’t often see someone who has so much offensive talent that goes 5-10 or 5-11,” Brewer said. “She has a great attitude, seems like a fun-loving kid, and should be great to coach.”