Brian Joshua Cook (born December 4, 1980 in Lincoln, Illinois) is a power forward for the Orlando Magic of the NBA. Cook was drafted out of the University of Illinois with the 24th pick of the first round of the 2003 NBA Draft. He led his high school team, the Lincoln Community High School Railsplitters, to the quarterfinals of the Illinois High School Association class AA state boys basketball tournament.
University of Illinois
Cook played four seasons at the University of Illinois, beginning with the 1999-2000 season, and led the Fighting Illini in rebounding in each season. As a senior in the 2002-2003 season, Cook led the Fighting Illini in scoring with 20.0 points per game, and was received the Chicago Tribune Silver Basketball as the Most Valuable Player of the Big Ten Conference. That same season, Cook was named Second-Team All-American by The Sporting News, and Third-Team All-American by the Associated Press, the National Association of Basketball Coaches, and The Basketball Times, as well as Big Ten Player of the Year and First-Team All-Big Ten by both the coaches and the media. Cook left Illinois as the school's third all-time leading scorer with 1748 total points, at an average of 13.2 points per game.
In college, Cook was a scorer from both the inside and the outside, utilizing his height to score in the post and attempting three-point shots when left open. As a professional, Cook has become a player who predominantly shoot from the perimeter, away from the basket. In Cook's rookie season (2003–04), he had only five three-point attempts out of 141 total field goal attempts. As a second-year player (2004–05) under former Lakers head coach Rudy Tomjanovich he was mainly three-point specialist, in fact 199 of 422 (or 47.2%) of Cook's field goal attempts were from behind the three-point arc. However since Phil Jackson return to coaching the Lakers in 2005-06, Cook shoots from the perimeter less often and now looks for midrange opportunities. Only 59 of 442 (or 13.3%) of Cook's field goal attempts are three-point attempts. This has resulted in Cook improving his overall field-goal percentage from .417 in 2004-05 to .520 in 2005-06, and has also resulted in an improvement in his three-point field-goal percentage, from .392 in 2004-05 to .441 in 2005-06. In fact, Cook's field-goal percentage would rank 10th in the NBA if he was qualified (through the Lakers 69 games in 2005-06, Cook would need to have made 252 field goals to qualify, however he has made only 230.) His improved play presumably has also kept Cook on the playing floor more and on the bench less, as his minutes played per game has risen from 15.1 in 2004-05 to 19.4 in 2005-06.
His lack of a back-to-the-basket game and his tendency to shy away from the physical play has earned some criticism from fans and coaches alike. During the off-season, Cook decided to bulk up and work on his back-to-the-basket game, post moves, and rebounding. However, his defense is still a huge weakness and he has recently vowed to lose weight in order to gain more mobility.