In the last twenty years, the names Schea Cotton and Lenny Cooke carried much weight in AAU hoops. The two shined in an era where the preps to pros culture was the norm.
Cotton was the cream of the crop in the late 90s. Mentioned nationally among top players like Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Baron Davis, Jermaine O’Neal and Stephen Jackson, the former high school All American was a star at Saint John Bosco and Mater Dei. Cotton averaged 24 points and 10 rebounds, leading Mater Dei to a 36–1 record.. Cotton declared for the 2000 NBA Draft where he went undrafted.
Check Out Lenny Cooke, Schea Cotton & Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson On Scoop B Radio
In 2001, Lenny Cooke, a Brooklyn, NY native, was a man among boys. Scouts ranked the 6’6 slasher ahead of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James, New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony and Miami Heat’s Amar’e Stoudemire. Cooke was a stats stuffer at Northern Valley High School in Old Tappan, NJ. Cooke averaged 25 points, 10 rebounds, two steals, and two blocks and looked primed to make a splash in the NBA. But just two years later, Cooke found himself playing ball not for an NBA team, but for the Shanghai Dongfang Sharks.
During an ABCD camp high school basketball tournament run by Sonny Vaccaro in Teaneck, NJ, Cooke’s AAU team went head to head with LeBron James’ team. Cooke’s team had the lead and possession of the basketball. James stole the ball, scored on a fast break and won the game, in a play that introduced the world to the Akron, Ohio born baller who was later featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated with the cover titled, “The Chosen One.” Many believed that that play was a turning point for Cooke’s career.
Dropping by Scoop B Radio, both Cooke and Cotton weighed in on the NBA’s age requirement that states that a player must be 19 years old or one year removed from their high school’s graduating class.
“I mean I disagree a little bit,” Lenny Cooke told me on Scoop B Radio.
“Because I feel like when you making these kids go to school before they put their name in the draft they should have to do at least 2 years instead of one because two years you got, it take 2 years to get an associates degree. So if you’re just going for one year, it ain’t really benefitting you. You’re still a child. I mean, at the end of the day, one year’s not going to; you know what I’m saying, make you or break you. But at the same time, if you get hurt, you see what I’m saying? Then you’re done.”
“I just feel that, you know, people shouldn’t be denied their right to work,” Sched Cotton told me on Scoop B Radio.
Schea Cotton added:
“You know, they do a lot of different things, but in tennis and you know, different sports, you see them turning pro at a young age. And soccer and baseball, we could go down the list. But in basketball, its dominated predominately by guys coming out of inner cities of North America and they make a big deal out of it. You know, one year of college is like a training ground for them to go on to the NBA, but like Lenny said: ‘if you get hurt you know, there’s no insurance for the student athlete.’ They need to do something about that, because you earn that scholarship every second of your day in college, you know whether you’re in study hall, whether you’re in individual workouts, the team practice; you know team meetings, whatever it may be. They monopolize your schedule, you don’t even know yourself at the end of the night, you just wanna hit the sack, you know? So things need to change, guys are making a lot of money for these universities as well as these coaches.”
Check Out Cooton Cooke Unedited