Iowa added a big prospect to its 2016 Class Wednesday night – literally and figuratively – when St. Louis Power Forward Tyler Cook verbally committed to the Big Ten school. He became the fourth known pledge in the cycle and grabbed the last available scholarship.
"I’ve know this staff for two years now and I feel the most comfortable with them," Cook told AllHawkeyes.com shortly after his pledge. "They preach the vision for me that I see for myself. They not only wanted me but they needed me and I felt that."
ITS A GREAT DAY TO BE A HAWKEYE???????? pic.twitter.com/e6tG7vjukz
— Tyler Cook (@KingCook_25) September 24, 2015
The 6-foot-8, 240-pound Cook celebrated his 18th birthday Wednesday by playing host to Iowa Head Coach Fran McCaffery and assistant Sherman Dillard on an in-home visit. He had scheduled a Thursday visit with Florida, his other finalist, but was ready to become a Hawkeye. He called the Gator coaches and let them know of his decision before going public.
"I really had it in my head a few weeks ago that I was going to Iowa but then I visited Florida and really liked it," Cook said. "I didn’t think I was going to like it that much and that made it hard. I came home and I prayed after my two visits and made the best decision for me."
Rivals.com ranks Cook as a four-star prospect on its five-star scale. The St. Louis Chaminade High and St. Louis Eagles big man is rated the No. 82 player overall in ’16 by the service.
Cook joins in-state verbals Cordell Pemsl, Ryan Kriener and Jordan Bohannon in Iowa’s ’16 Class. Iowa addresses it’s need for the front court with Cook, Pemsl and Kriener and point guard with Bohannon.
On its ’15-16 roster, Iowa boasts seniors Adam Woodbury (center), Jarrod Uthoff (power forward), Mike Gesell (point guard) and Anthony Clemmons (point guard).
Iowa identified Cook during his sophomore season and became the first Power 5 Conference school to offer him a scholarship in May of 2014. The Hawkeyes continued to build that relationship and did a good job of letting him know how they would use him.
"They want me to be a play-maker," he said. "They’re losing four seniors and they see me being that versatile four man. I’m working every day to be better and expand my game to fill that vision that we both have. I know the coaches are going to work hard to get me there if I work hard to get there. You can’t ask for more than that."
Cook reported offers from Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Illinois and others.
"I feel 100 pounds lighter. It’s like a huge weight off my shoulders," he said of ending his long recruiting process. "I didn’t know how I was going to feel until after I made my announcement but I couldn’t be happier to have it done and I can’t wait to get to Iowa City."
Cook and his family officially visited Iowa this last weekend. After that, they canceled their official visit to Arkansas.