Omar Cook Interview
Portland Trail Blazers point guard Omar Cook went to St. John's University, jumped early to the NBA, and bounced back and forth between the league and the NBDL before signing a Portland contract that should keep him around for a while. InsideHoops.com editor Jeff Lenchiner recently met with Cook in Madison Square Garden for an exclusive interview.
InsideHoops.com: Talk about your career, getting back into the NBA and making the Blazers.
Omar Cook: I've been through a lot the past two, two and a half years, NBDL, back to the NBA, NBDL, back to the NBA, just going through a whole lot, and now I finally got my shot. I'm making the most of it. I'm taking everything I learned from the coach, from the players, from the experience, taking everything I've been through and taking it with me.
InsideHoops.com: You did great in the NBDL, leading the league in assists.
Omar Cook: I was leading the league in assists and steals. It was fun for me. It taught me a lot about life, more than basketball. I learned how to become a better player, but I just worked hard and I got back.
InsideHoops.com: And your Blazers deal is for more than one year.
Omar Cook: Yeah, I signed a multi-year deal with the Blazers. Hopefully everything works out. I'm just working hard. I can control only what I can control, and everything else, I let my basketball speak for it.
InsideHoops.com: As for college, and leaving college early, how much would staying an extra year in school have helped your NBA career?
Omar Cook: If I was in college one more year, I definitely would have been a lottery pick, or definitely first round, but I choose to come out, I felt I was ready and I went for it.
InsideHoops.com: If you could do it all over again, would you have stayed an extra year?
Omar Cook: You know what, either way, I think the past couple of years I've been going through, it made me a better person, so I wouldn't trade it in for nothing. As long as everything works out from now, then everything will be fine.
InsideHoops.com: What kind of advice would you give to current young players thinking of jumping early to the NBA?
Omar Cook: Just believe in themselves, if they feel they're ready, get as much information as they can and go from there. I can't tell nobody to finish their education when I didn't finish mine. If you feel you're ready, you gotta go for it. You can always go back to college and get your degree. But college is good for some people and may not be good for others. If you feel you're ready to play basketball, if you're ready to take that step... I felt I was ready, unfortunately it didn't work out, but now I'm back, and you'll see.