Dom Cooks’ second crack at American basketball

Dom Cooks is about to head to Honolulu. Picture: ADAM McLEANDom Cooks’ first taste of American college basketball didn’t pan out the way he planned.Shortly after arriving in the US 12 months ago, the former Illawarra and NSW junior representative wrecked his ankle during one of his first training sessions with Utah State University.”It was tough at times, especially getting injured,” Cooks said. “I was in a boot and on crutches for about four months and that was pretty frustrating, especially with the snow in Utah. It wasn’t much fun trying to get around on crutches in snow.”On Thursday Cooks heads back overseas, this time to take up a scholarship with Chaminade University, a Division II college smack bang in the middle of sunny Honolulu.”The campus looks awesome. It’s set in the hills of Honolulu and overlooks the beach, so I’m really looking forward to it,” the 19-year-old Cooks (pictured) said. “It’ll be good to be somewhere a bit warmer.”It’ll make it a lot easier being in a place that’s a bit like home with the beaches and everything.”A private Catholic college, Chaminade boasts a proud history. It is a stone’s throw away from the University of Hawaii and hosts the prestigious Maui Invitational every year. In the 1982 tournament, Chaminade scored what is widely regarded as the greatest upset in college basketball history when they defeated the nation’s top-ranked Division I team Virginia 77-72.”The Maui Invitational is a big tournament and they get big-time schools like North Carolina and Marquette,” Cooks said. “It’s basically Chaminade and seven other massive Division I schools, so that’ll be a lot of fun playing in that.”The son of Wollongong Hawks assistant coach Eric Cooks, Dom won’t be the only Australian on Chaminade’s playing roster, with 208cm Queenslander Chris Smith returning for his sophomore season.Aside from his ankle injury, Cooks said he had no regrets about his time in Utah.”It took a while to get used to, but I met some great people,” he said. “It was a great experience … but I’m ready for a change.”Cooks will be one of several new faces at Chaminade, who have lost four or five seniors. He is comfortable about his new start after his pre-season training with the Hawks.”I just jumped in with the boys and the off-season has definitely been good for me.”
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