Fab Flournoy said it took him only five minutes to decide to sign Newcastle Eagles’ newest sensation Malik Cooke.
Cooke will go into the Glasgow Rocks clash tomorrow on a high after making the BBL’s team of the week after another high-octane performance against Manchester Giants.
The summer recruit has been piling on the points since his Eagles debut but his 32-point haul against the overwhelmed Giants was the best yet for the University of South Carolina graduate.
Cooke’s style of play is explosive and entertaining, but Flournoy has also praised the forward’s readiness to learn and has promised Eagles fans that he will get better and better if he continues to maintain his work-rate.
The Eagles’ player-coach has also praised assistant coach Dave Forrester for scouting Cooke – and said that his contribution to the recruitment process lasted precisely five minutes.
“Malik can play and that’s all there is to it,” Flournoy said. “To be honest, all of the guys we recruited in the summer can play – Scott Martin and Paul Gause are in the same category. Before Malik found his feet people were saying Paul Gause was so good.
“All of a sudden Malik found his feet and all of a sudden Malik is the new sensation that everyone is talking about. It doesn’t alter what I felt about him from the moment I saw him and that is that he is an all-out player. He really is.
“I knew that from the time Dave Forrester gave me a video and told me he’d found a guy to watch. I watched the tape for no more than five minutes and I didn’t need to see anymore. I knew I wanted him on our team so I just left it to Paul Blake and Dave to make him a Newcastle Eagles player.”
Thankfully Blake and Forrester were able to do the business off-the-court and now Flournoy is delighted to be working with a player who has shown a thirst to develop his game.
“I challenge him in practice and I challenge him by talking to him every day,” he said.
“Right now he’s literally just scratching of what he can achieve throughout his basketball career.
“There’s a buzz about him and rightly so, but there is so much more that he can aspire to. He is an exciting talent and I’m delighted to have him with us.”
A bigger encouragement for Flournoy is that the college pedigree of his new recruits means they are eager to improve. All three of the Eagles’ American imports played to a high level during their college career and Newcastle’s player-coach has noticed the difference that has made in their approach.
“These guys have played to a very high level. Look at the level they have already played at,” he said. “These guys have gone to Syracuse University and played in front of 60,000. They have nerves of steel and they can play. They have a professional attitude and they are ready to learn day in and day out.
“I did a two-hour video session the other day based on 10 minutes of play. We can do that because these guys have a hunger to learn and that is what I am most excited about.”