NBA, Where Are They Now? / Aug 26, 2009 / 12:48 pm

Where Are They Now: Omar Cook

Omar Cook

Yesterday’s “Where are they now?” post on Troy Bell generated a lot of discussion of our favorite has-beens. We saw all sorts of names: Dajuan Wagner, Scotty Thurman, Harold Miner and even David Benoit. So we’re going to do what we can to dig up information and catch you up to speed on everyone.

One name I saw come up that really struck a chord with me was Omar Cook. I remember reading all about him in magazines when he was just a sophomore at Christ the King High School in Queens, NY. Cook, along with Andre Barrett and Taliek Brown were billed as the “Holy Trinity” and were supposed to be the three of the greatest guards to ever come out of the city.

Obviously we know that stardom wasn’t in the cards for the NYC trio. Cook was the only one out of the three to get drafted. After one season at St. Johns – where he led college basketball in assists – Cook thought he was a lock for the lottery so he threw his name in the 2000 Draft. Omar was drafted in the second round by Orlando and found himself unemployed after training camp.

Cook spent the next four years playing in the D-League and occasionally scoring a 10-day NBA contract. The closest he got to stability was playing 17 games for the Blazers in the 2003-04 season. His decision to leave school early made him the poster child for why underclassman should stay in school. Dick Vitale and Andy Katz routinely bring him up at the draft each year.

In recent years, Cook has almost completely fallen off the NBA radar. While people are quick to call is career a waste, Cook has been making paper playing in some of the best leagues in France, Russia and Spain. In 2008, he played alongside Marcus Haislip on Unicaja Malaga in Spain where he averaged 6.1 points and 4.5 assists.  Last year, the Fort Greene in Brooklyn native received his Montenegrin citizenship making him eligible to play for their national team.

A lot has been made about Cook’s decision to enter the League too soon. And while he probably could have been a solid NBA pro if he waited longer and developed a jump shot, I think he’s had a fairly successful career. He’s probably made a couple of million over the years and I’m sure his journey grounded him. I remember seeing him at the airport in Salt Lake City as he was returning home to New York after playing for the Bobcats in the 2004 Summer League in Utah. He was humble and told me he didn’t have regrets about leaving and believed he would make the NBA if he kept working hard.  Maybe he still can.

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  • Detroit Dave

    Where is Erick Barkley?

  • control

    Pavel Podsuzkin…that HUGE russian guy. WTF happened with him? Guy was a strong beast of a 7’5 guy, how bad do you have to suck to not be able to make the NBA at 7’5?

  • The Real Tryrone

    Who be this nasty cat y’all? Cat’s that be enterin’ the NBA without them skillz obviously be endin’ up outta the NBA. Punks gotsa be patient y’all and be workin’ on bein a better baller.

    True thugs NEVER lie.
    The REAL Tyrone

  • Yoooo

    Yo he didnt look half bad on that tape. DEFINITELY better than Ricky Rubio!

    He sees the floor real well and his jumper looks much improved. He’s got a real good feel for the game…

    You mean to tell me Kevin Ollie can get an NBA job and he cant??? He might have defiled Stern’s niece or something

  • Arrogant

    eddie robinson…

  • IZ

    Eddie Griffin and Benoit Benjamin

  • Michorizo

    The Jewish Jordan…I forget his name

  • kg fan

    @ 6
    unfortunately eddie griffen died when his suv got hit by a train. I was rootin for him too. rip

  • Boofrog

    for the love of god…

    MARK POPE!

  • hansosword

    Eddie Griffin RIP

  • http://twitter.com/PoppiGEE POPPI GEE

    Charles Smith (Georgetown)
    Chris Jackson (Mahcmed Abdul Rauf or whatever his name became)
    Larry Johnson
    Stacy Augmon
    Mugsy
    Yao Ming

    Where are these guys now?

    Omar Cook keep fighting.
    Young dudes that ain’t ready learn the lesson and get ya skills right.

  • bigdoggchad

    Reece Gaines?

  • control

    GEE

    Good call on the Yao Ming reference!

    Also, your Mugsy made me wonder what is up with Earl Boykins…for a midget, the kid could ball…

  • LoBezn0

    I remember this tatted-up white guy off Golden State’s bench some years back… I just can’t remember his name.

  • mumadone

    what’s his face that played with dampier at miss st. i think his name way dante jones like the one on the pacers. Dude was ballin in college.

  • Big North

    Lenny Cooke! Lenny Cooke!Lenny Cooke!Lenny Cooke!Lenny Cooke!Lenny Cooke!Lenny Cooke!Lenny Cooke!Lenny Cooke!Lenny Cooke!Lenny Cooke!Lenny Cooke!Lenny Cooke!Lenny Cooke!Lenny Cooke!Lenny Cooke!Lenny Cooke!Lenny Cooke!Lenny Cooke!Lenny Cooke!Lenny Cooke!Lenny Cooke!Lenny Cooke!Lenny Cooke!

  • Matt Sturbate

    @ #7 Tamir Goodman was his name

  • Tig obamo

    ronnie fields where he at and where wagner at thats mi son

  • Joeyy

    This guy was playing in Belgium a few years from now (as you can see in the video) I saw him there a couple of times and this guy can play! He was one of the best in the league, not sure he was good enough for the NBA, but still a very good player IMO…

  • Al Dogg

    I want to know what happened to Ed O’Bannon. Guy was a stud at UCLA back in the 90′s.

    And what ever happened to Rony Seikaly? I never heard what happened after refused to show up in Utah after he was traded there.

  • robmo35

    God Shamgod? Anyone?

  • Drink the Haterade

    Ed Obannon is a car salesman here in Vegas

    He attended UNLV to finish his bachelor’s degree. As of 2009, he lived Henderson, Nevada with his wife and children, and was employed as a marketing director for a Las Vegas auto dealership.

    He also coaches at Findley Prep, I think.

  • MSkittle

    When it comes to Omar, I went to 5 Star Camp with him and I remember Garfinkel saying he was the best passer he’d ever seen..

    Omar’s shot is looking good too. He could definitely start in the league.

  • IZ

    Are you talking about Jim Tolbert?

  • IZ

    @14 Are you talking about Jim Tolbert?

  • N

    Charles Smith from Georgetown….he was convicted after a hit and run accident…please find him!!

    Joey Brown from Georgetown too….

  • TJ 2

    Im really interested in seeing what happened to Lenny Cooke, he was going at it with Lebron in HS and just fell off!

  • BCap

    Lenny Cooke works at Food Lion in Prince George County, md
    Was rooting for the brooklynite as well

  • Mack Brownee

    @21 that boy playing in China…

    @1 another st john pg that went awol; I wonder where he’s playing

  • MJAX

    What ever happened to Anderson Hunt, Kenny Battle, Walter Berry and Donald Curry?

  • sh!tfaced

    The NBA should give the guy another shot. Definitely better than guys like Kevin Olie and maybe even Beno Udrih.

    What ever happened to GHEORGHE MURESAN?
    …played for the Bullets… won the L’s Most Improved Player award… made a movie with Billy Crystal and was even seen in an Eminem music video…

  • KCL

    Where’s Ha? the giant Korean the Blazers had a few years back? dude had No basketball skills but he was definetly big

  • Sam I Am

    Where’s Ted Kennedy playing??

    lol j/k i’m sorry

  • KCL

    @30 Yea My Giant where is that goofy guy? haha didn’t know he won a MIP though thats interesting…

  • TPK

    Where is Taylor Coppenrath from University of VT along with and TJ Sorrentine from the team that beat Syracuse… Which reminds me where’d John Wallace end his days?

  • http://www.worldstarhiphop.com c-viz

    Lenny Cooke was nice!!! Lebron got his rep up by doing well against HIM!! he was too stupid and had bad people around him. if he had Shane Battier’s personality he would have been an All-Star.

  • http://dime fan

    Omar Cook is a starter in this league. If it wasn’t for politics or whatever the powers that be who banned him. He’d have a great career in the league. Also to the basketball masses. Because these trio along w Sebastian havent fared as well as you expected due to some circumstances. Has nothing to do with the upcoming talent. Barrett could be a back-up in the league and has fared very well in the Development league. He’s arguably the best pg in the D-League. Taliek Brown still has game and plays overseas somewhere. Omar Cook has a jumpshot now. So he’s gotten better and more humble that equates league. It’s funny he said the league doesn’t want him so he was content over waters. There lose. Stern and these coaches act like what the product they have now is good. It’s mostly horrible for the most part. Let those that belong go. Even w/ a few mistakes along the way. People are human and being asked to do things they’ve done their whole life which is what got them there in the 1st place. Omar Cook needs to get a shot at the league. Please lets start a campaign for Sundiata Gaines. He’s one of NY’s brighest stars and few hopes of dispelling the myth or lie that has been casted over the whole of NYC.
    N.Robinson can’t win a tournament in NYC and he’s a problem. Duhon can’t get into a gym because no one knows him. I have something against him. He just was never good to me. He hurt our franchise more than anything. He’s an overpriced band-aid. LOL. It’s funny how well Skip,Charlie,B.Gordon,F.Garcia, and few others have done for NYC and it’s done little to help the city. Give us another chance to make up for the Stephon’s and Tinsley’s of the world. We deserve it and so do the fans and People interested in winning and bringing some much needed excitement. You could ask every star in the league what they think or NYC basketball and they’ll tell you a story. Brandon Jennings was amazed when he was in town. He’s arguably the future of the position along W/Rose/Paul/Williams. There aren’t 5 guards in the country that you could name better than Kemba and he’s in a top 5 bracket in our city. He’s not even finished yet. What scares me about him is how humble and how great his work ethic. If Calhoun lets him run UConn he’s good enough to get Big East Player of the Year.

  • http://www.espn.com Sho-Nuff

    Lenny Cooke was a moron, literally. Dumb as a rock. No one taught him and he didn’t learn the game. Couldn’t remember a play if you tatted it on his hand. Dude got all Sean May for a while, lost some of it and who knows now. LBJ murdered him at the ABCD camp too. He was ok, not great. Went to like 10 high schools (exaggeration) ok maybe 4 or 5.

  • http://twitter.com/PoppiGEE POPPI GEE

    N that is messed up about Charles Smith.

    Yea I remember Joey Brown used to be kinda nice with the rock, I agree on finding him, what is he doing?

    Control no doubt Earl was nice too!

    Michael Cage??? Please find out if he still got the Jerri Curl!?

  • http://twitter.com/PoppiGEE POPPI GEE

    Ok I got 1 for yall for real. BISON DELE?

    Stickin with Denver can we get the update on LaPhonso Ellis?

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    Bison Dele is presumed dead, killed by his brother, although a body was never found.

    Joey Brown was my all-time favorite Hoya. Somebody needs to track him down.

    Where are Jimmy King and Ray Jackson?

  • Gunner J. Matthews

    Pete Chilcutt
    That high school dude that got drafted by the Pistons in the 1st round in the late 90′s
    Chris Whitney (a favorite player of mines)
    God Shammgod
    Grant Long
    Martin Murresep (spell last name wrong)

  • Guitar Hero

    what’s up with keon clark?
    dickey simpkins?
    john wallace?

  • http://twitter.com/PoppiGEE POPPI GEE

    Dang ….RIP to Bison Dele. Wow.

    Yea I liked Joey Brown too but my favorite all time Hoya is Charles Smith followed closely by Zo.

    Yea Jimmy King and Ray need to be found.

    Awww Naw someone done came through with the Pete Chilcutt. I gotta 2nd that one. Pleeease find P.C. Oh yea what about
    Bobby Sura? I remember he was nice at FSU!

  • dlee9

    What about Yinka?

  • http://sneakerplay.com/iconwitnikezon Arnold Palmer

    marcus Hatten
    Lead st.johns in everything….was a top guard in not only big east country…..wat happened idnt even kno y he didnt get drafted he was amazin

  • JL

    @ 40 – Poppi Gee

    Bison Dele went missing off the coastline of Australia – there is a theory that he was murdered…I read this article years ago, sad sh!t.

    http://espn.go.com/magazine/vol5no21dele.html

  • KHenry

    Omar Cook is the best passer of the basketball I have ever seen. Dude was the real deal. Saw him dominate games without scoring a single point. The NBA definitely missed out on a playmaker. Seen him play the last few years and there is no way that some GM can convince me that he isn’t an NBA talent when there are guys like Kevin Ollie and Jose Barrera getting PT.

  • KHenry

    @34 I saw John Wallace two months ago at Manhattan College during the Rumble in the BX tourney. He was just chillin out watching AAU basketball. He still looks like he can play in the L, didn’t get fat at all.

  • KHenry

    @ 21 God Shammgod is back in NYC. He played overseas for while. Every now and then he comes out and plays in some of the big time streetball tourneys. His son plays on the NY Metro Hawks AAU team I coach. He has handles just like his pops.

  • Willy Beezy

    Where is Dante Calabria? Pepe Sanchez? Scotty Thurman? Ray Jackson?

  • Kobe

    Earl Boykins?

  • JoV

    Where is Skita???

  • rick773

    WHERES Toby Bailey, Tyus Edney, or Cameron Dollar

  • Young Money (R.I.P. B-Dub)

    John Wallace will always be a bust. His broke ass should never Enter the L again, If he does David Stern should Consider Resigning.

  • Bobby Money

    Keon Clark lived in the shithole of the world…Danville, Illinois, In jail right now.
    what happened to-George Ackles, Willie Burton, Al Dillard (gunner from Arkansas on the championship team)
    and Darius Lane?

  • BRUCE

    In a couple of years, Gerald Green is the subject!

  • Kaya Mann

    Where is Richard Dumas? – One of the All Time Best Dunk Masters EVA!!!
    Where is Booger ‘Ed Smith’ I think from BKLYN bak in 1990′s?

  • nbaman

    Lenny Cook, def.

  • doc

    Ed Griff shoutouts!Thats my man.Growing up we was TIGHT.That was my big fella growing up.We got plenty of trophys together.

  • http://youtube.com/jordanownskobe Pathological Lier

    Felipe Lopez
    Lavar Postell
    William Avery
    Erick Barkely
    Trajan Langdon
    Steve Francis

  • Yo Yo Ma

    Yoo..where Preston Shumpert and Todd Burgan at? Those wuz my homies when I worked at the Cuse for a minute. Lost track of der careers. Me and Burgan wuz tight as a noose for a minute

  • http://www.random-ish.com Sccob

    You took it back. I remember that cats. What happened to Taliek and Andre?

  • AR

    Marcus Hatten got popped smoking weed around the corner from St. John’s. I think he had a bad rep about the weed in general. He wasn’t as good as Cook was and Cook barely got drafted so….

  • miller

    Chris MARCUS from Texas

    Marcus Liberty

    But Mainly, What is DWAGNER up to and why hasn’t any one in the league given him a chance since the warriors?

  • Lester

    Where’s Ed Cota?