Zia Cooke drawing attention from Chance the Rapper, NBA stars

Photo: Srijita Chattopadhyay/Naples Daily News

Zia Cooke drawing attention from Chance the Rapper, NBA stars

Girls Basketball

Zia Cooke drawing attention from Chance the Rapper, NBA stars


Ankle-crushing crossovers. Sweet no-look passes. Feathery step-back jumpers.

Toledo-Rogers High School (Ohio) point guard Zia Cooke has game for days, and her skills are drawing national attention – and not just from recruiting services.

Sure, she’s the No. 7 prospect in the Class of 2019 according to ESPN.com, but it’s her highlight video that’s drawing the real raves. NBA stars Dwyane Wade, Jason Terry and C.J. McCollum have all shared the video on Twitter, as has Chance the Rapper. Washington Wizards point guard John Wall has corresponded with her and even invited her to D.C. for a workout with him.

“It’s amazing,” she said following a 70-45 victory over Lehigh in the opener of the Holiday Shootout on Thursday morning.

“It’s unreal to me. I woke up one day and I got all these texts that Chance the Rapper shared my video and I’m like ‘Wow.’ I didn’t even have a Twitter (account) at the time so I made one to see what he sent. I see all these celebrities re-tweeting it and I got in contact with John Wall as well. I got to talk to a lot of celebrities and it feels good to know my name is on the map now.”

The 5-foot-9 Cooke displayed her all-around court prowess Thursday, scoring 17 points and pulling down nine rebounds to go along with seven steals and five assists. She was back at it Friday, scoring a team-high 23 points in a 56-44 loss to Nease. Among her highlights Friday was a half-court 3-pointer as time expired in the third quarter.

“You can tell how much work she puts into her game,” Lehigh coach Arthur Cedeno said. “She’s a natural scorer but she also handles the ball very well and is active on defense. That’s why she’s being recruited the way she is.”

Cooke has already committed to South Carolina, where she will be a teammate of former Fort Myers star Destanni Henderson.

“Yes, I’ve met her already,” Cooke said. “She’s really good and she’s going to be there when I get there, so it’s going to be fun to play with her — to learn from what’s she’s doing. She’s a good girl; I can’t wait to get there and play with her.”

Read the rest of the story at Naples Daily News.


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