Cooke Preps for Ames

Cooke Preps for Ames

Newest Cyclone Hallice Cooke goes in-depth on his signing with Iowa State — what drew him to Ames, why he didn't take more visits and what he'll work on during his redshirt season

Back in Corvallis, Oregon, Hallice Cooke made an Instagram announcement that he'd be signing with Iowa State, fielded calls from reporters, skyped his parents and settled in for two hours of study hall.

Fun?

"It's been alright," Cooke said late Monday. "It's not mandatory for me because I'm not on the team anymore but I want to finish strong with my academics. I want to get to Iowa State on the right track and not have any problems academically, get the ball rolling with my GPA and my degree."

Fred Hoiberg's latest addition, which was announced officially in a Tuesday morning press release, closes the book on the 2014-15 recruiting class, although Cooke, an Oregon State transfer, will redshirt the upcoming season per NCAA transfer rules.

Cooke plans to arrive in Ames by June 15.

Said Hoiberg: "Hallice is a player that will fit our system and what we want to do as a basketball team well. He is a versatile guard that shoots the ball at a very high percentage. To shoot better than 45 percent from behind the arc as a freshman, while making more than 40 threes, is impressive and we look forward to him joining our program."

Discuss ISU's Latest Addition

Sitting out a year gives Cooke the chance to tweak his game in a competitive practice setting, while it's unlikely Hoiberg will mess too much with his shooting mechanics. Cooke hit 45.6 percent of his three-point attempts as a freshman with the Beavers, second in the Pac-12.

"I'm not a complete player yet, if I was I'd be in the NBA draft," Cooke said. "Every part of my game has to improve. My body is something I'll focus on. I've been through a full college basketball season so I know what it takes to have your body right and compete at a high level. And it's a new conference, so you've got to make a adjustments to your game and watch a lot of film."

In one year in Corvallis, Cooke averaged 8.2 points per game and finished the year with 41 treys, fourth-most by a freshman in school history. In the final game of the season, Cooke notched a career-high 23 points against Radford.

The 6-foot-3 Cooke also averaged 2.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists.

Whereas Iowa State got UNLV transfer Bryce Dejean-Jones to commit on the spot in Ames, on his first official visit, Cooke took trips to St. Joseph's and Dayton and was interested in seeing Rutgers and Seton Hall.

Visits to Rutgers and Seton Hall never materialized, but the point was clear: Take your time. Cooke committed to the Beavers in September of 2012 without taking advantage of the full recruiting process.

"I didn't want to make a rush decision like I did the first time," said Cooke, who declined to further discuss his exit from Oregon State. "I wanted to see the other schools. I wanted to see some other schools, too, but the fact that I'm so comfortable with Iowa State and there's a dead period coming up, that put a hold to that. Everything I wanted and needed was at Iowa State."

Hoiberg's healing work with transfers reached a new level of phenomenon last season as he turned Marshall transfer DeAndre Kane from a can't-shoot, hot-headed point guard to a first-team Big 12 player. Cooke requires no such water-to-wine magic — he carries no known baggage — and is therefore not too wrapped up in the narrative.

"That's something they showed me on the visit, how successful they were with that," Cooke said. "I didn't really care about it as much as people might. I was confident enough that I'd be very successful because of the time I've put in."

Cooke, who played his prep ball at the famous St. Anthony High School in New Jersey under coach Bob Hurley, Sr., was a member of the Sports U AAU program with Dustin Hogue. Their AAU coach is connected with Cyclones assistant Matt Abdelmassih.

"He's like a big brother to me, my AAU coach, and just knowing he knows someone out there made me more comfortable," Cooke said.

Hoiberg's NBA ties and is league-wide appeal continue to be a cause of concern for Iowa State fans, but it's another selling point for the Cyclones.

"He knows how to get you to the next level," Cooke said of Hoiberg. "And he knows how to win — that's the most important part."

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