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What Tom Crean is getting in Aaron Cook

Leadership, selflessness, and tenacity. Plain and simple, that is what Georgia Basketball is getting in senior transfer point guard Aaron Cook.

Cook left Southern Illinois for Gonzaga after the 2019-2020 season, fully expecting to share the point guard duties alongside then-incoming freshman Jalen Suggs. Suggs is an extremely talented player and will likely be a top-5 pick in the NBA Draft this year. But regardless of the precocious talent level, Suggs didn't have experience. That's one of many things Cook brought to the table, as well as being a relentless defender and natural scorer.

Gonzaga head coach Mark Few, the Gonzaga staff, and Cook himself were all expecting Cook to play somewhere north of the 20 to 25-minute range per contest. However, once the NCAA approved the waiver of Andrew Nembhard, who transferred from Florida to Gonzaga after the Covid shortened season, Cook's expected minutes dropped dramatically.

After playing three seasons at Southern Illinois and averaging over 30 minutes per game, Cook would only see just over 13 minutes per contest during his time with the Zags.

The Bulldogs are getting a player who simply wants to help his team win.

Even more specifically, Cook is considered an excellent on-ball defender and will be able to communicate well with his teammates within a defensive scheme. Cook also has a knack for hitting timely buckets.

Even with irregular playing time for Gonzaga, Cook was able to boost his team against rival St. Mary's with eight points when Gonzaga needed them most. Cook scored in double digits three times for Gonzaga in last year's run to the National Championship Game. Of course, this is after averaging 11.7 points per game his last three seasons at SIU.

Lastly, Cook has NCAA Tournament experience and has been exposed to a program that has one of the best cultures in the country. That alone out of a point guard can do wonders for a team—and that's what Tom Crean is getting with Cook.

Inside, Blayne Gilmer explains what Georgia is getting in Aaron Cook.
Inside, Blayne Gilmer explains what Georgia is getting in Aaron Cook. (Associated Press)