Sidney Cooks may feel a little bit lonely at the 2017 McDonald’s All American Game.
Perhaps not in the classical sense; but moreso because of her uniqueness: Cooks will be the only girls player from Wisconsin, as well as the only female selection headed to a Big Ten school next season.
“This was definitely a dream of mine,” Cooks said of being named a McDonald’s All American. “I’m the first one out of my city, Kenosha (Wis.), and the only one representing the Big Ten. I just feel like when I go I want to represent Wisconsin good, my city good, and the Big Ten and Michigan State.”
Cooks, the No. 5 player in the nation according to ESPN, received her honorary jersey on Thursday when the McDonald’s Hometown Heroes presented by American Family Insurance came to her school.
“My whole school came, so it was a very live environment,” she said of the ceremony. “They were very excited. It was fun. I got to have my family next to me, and it was really just a nice experience to have everyone here with me to get honored for this big accomplishment.”
Though the lone recipient from her state, the St. Joseph’s Catholic (Kenosha, Wis.) star will be surrounded by some familiar faces. But she’s most excited about making her name on a national stage.
“I will be reunited with some of my USA Basketball teammates, so I’m excited about that,” she said. “But when it comes down to the game, I’m just going to leave it all out on the floor and be very vocal.
“People don’t usually expect big basketball players to come out of Wisconsin, especially females, but I think I’m going to represent them very well and just have a lot of fun throughout the game. They’ll know who I am by the time the buzzer goes off.”
As for the future, Cooks sees herself fitting in wherever she’s needed in East Lansing, and she has set some pretty lofty goals.
“I can play positions from the 3 to the 5, so I’ll be versatile,” Cooks said. “Unfortunately, I’m not going to have Tori Jankoska there next year, and I’d love to play with her because she’s an outstanding point guard. But I just want to come in and fill that sport and be a leader as a freshman and just enjoying my time. Hopefully we can get a championship in my four years there.”