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Indiana athletics owes a lot to Bill Cook, most notably the basketball practice facility that bears his name. Cook contributed $15 million toward the $20 million building. It was the single biggest donation Indiana athletics has ever received.
But IU athletic director Fred Glass said he got a lot more than just a check from that exchange. Getting to meet and develop a relationship with Cook was even more valuable, Glass said Friday evening after learning of Cook’s passing.
“The coolest thing for me was just to get a chance to meet him,” Glass said. “Even after the gift was complete, we had a few conversations. Not a lot, but it was an acquaintanceship that I really treasured. He and his wife’s gift to the athletic department really helped kick start the Tom Crean era, making Cook Hall what it is today and showing confidence that we were going the right way. His gift led to many other significant gifts. They weren’t as big as Bill’s, but it was obviously that people realized that if Bill Cook thinks this is something he ought to invest in, maybe we ought to as well. When you’re dealing with a guy like that, what can you say? He was something else. I feel lucky just to have known him.”
Cook built a fortune by founding the Bloomington-based medical equipment manufacturer Cook Group, Inc. In September, he was named the No. 101 wealthiest American on the Forbes 400 list with a total estimated worth of $3.1 billion. He spread that wealth around as much as he could, however, and was involved in countless philanthropic projects beyond what he did for IU athletics.
Cook had been dealing with congestive heart failure for several years, but still remained extremely active within the Cook Group and the Bloomington community.
“It sounds trite, but it’s really true with Bill,” Glass said. “He taught us how to live and he taught us how to die. … He’s lived this great life and he rode out his illness with such courage. He was everywhere all the time. He stayed engaged. He lived a lot longer than most people would with his illness. I think the guy is really inspiring both in life and in death.”
Indiana basketball coach Tom Crean expressed his feelings toward Cook via his Twitter account.
“I am stunned and saddened,” he said. “It’s hard to do justice to what he meant to not only this university, community and state but even the world. He was literally a life-changing giant of a man and leader. Not many people can say they made the world a better place because of work they did, but Mr. Cook sure can. The contributions he made will continue to impact lives forever.”
Imagine this has been posted elsewhere by now, but Indiana signees Cody Zeller and Austin Etherington and verbal commitment Yogi Ferrell were all named to the Associated Press Indiana All-State team.
Zeller, the Washington forward who was named Mr. Basketball earlier this month, and Park Tudor point guard Ferrell were named to the first team. Joining them were Bloomington South guard Dee Davis (signed to Xavier), Pike point guard Marquis Teague (Kentucky) and Gary Wallace forward Branden Dawson (Michigan State).
Etherington, a 6-foot-6 swingman from Hamilton Heights, was named to the third team. Indiana verbal commitments Ron Patterson and Jeremy Hollowell were both named high honorable mention.
Indiana target Gary Harris, a Hamilton Southeastern guard was named second-team All-State. He was joined by North Central guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Center grove guard Jonny Marllin, Warsaw guard Nick Moore and Munster guard Joe Crisman. Etheringotn was joined on the third team by Terre Haute North forward Justin Gant, Castle forward Eric Stutz, Lowell guard Austin Richie and Lawrence North center Michael Chandler.
In recent weeks, we have spent considerable time discussing Jamari Traylor. There have been other names of interest, namely James Farr and Ibrahim Djimde, as we wonder what big man will finish out the class of 2011 for the Indiana Hoosiers.
But just how much should we expect from whomever it is that ends up signing with Indiana? Judging by last season, not much.
During a wild and crazy spring of 2010, Indiana was attached to nine post prospects. One, Guy-Marc Michel, signed with Indiana. Some were only briefly involved with Indiana. Some kept us up late into the night, waiting for a possible 2 a.m. commitment.
But when they did arrive on various campuses, the nine struggled to make an impact. Just two made a real impression on their new team, and they played at Central Florida and Illinois State.
The lesson? If you’re a big man that is best described as a “project,” wait until the spring. College coaches get desperate to fill holes, and they end up looking at what you are and forget what you’re not.
If you’re a fan hoping someone available right now will easily push aside incumbents like Tom Pritchard and Derek Elston for playing time inside, go ahead and hope – but do not count on it.
After the jump are the nine prospects and their 2010-11 numbers.
Emmanuel Negedu, a former Indiana target who played with the Indiana Elite AAU team, is ending his basketball career because of a heart condition.
Negedu, who initially committed to Tennessee, collapsed during a workout in the school’s indoor football facility in September, 2009. Tennessee’s athletic administration was willing to keep him on scholarship but unwilling to clear him to play basketball, so he decided to transfer last offseason. Indiana evaluated him and doctors close to the athletic department cleared him to play, but the administration wouldn’t OK it. He eventually signed with New Mexico, but he played in only 10 games and at halftime of a pre-Christmas game against The Citadel, he had a problematic internal defibrillator reading and never played again.
Some basic info about the spring game from IU Sports Info:
IU TO CLOSE SPRING WITH CREAM VS. CRIMSON GAME
The 2011 Cream vs. Crimson Spring Game presented by Smithville will kick off at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 16, at Memorial Stadium. Admission is free and the gates will open at 8:30 a.m.
Fans are asked to enter the West side of Memorial Stadium via Gates 1, 2 & 3 and to sit in the West stands. All parking lots will be open and parking is free. (more…)
Both Austin Etherington and Cody Zeller were named to the 13-man Indiana All-Star roster, announced this morning.
It should be an entertaining team to watch, with Marquis Teague, Branden Dawson and Dee Davis also on the roster.
Here’s a story from the Star focusing on Etherington being selected to the team. It looks like he’ll be fighting with Andy Smeathers (Butler) for time at the wing position.
The exhibition games against the junior All-Stars (featuring all four in-state 2012 commits) will be on June 6 at Washington and June 8 at Kokomo. The first game against Kentucky will be June 10 at Bellarmine in Louisville, then the next night at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Same time, same place. We’ll be here.
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