Quinn Cook, St. Jerome’s first NBA champion, returns to campus
By CHRIS McMANES — When Sue Sheehan saw a Facebook Live post about an NBA world champion at St. Jerome Academy, she knew she had to see him.
Quinn Cook, who played basketball for three years at St. Jerome (2004-07), returned to his alma mater Tuesday for the first time since the Golden State Warriors won their third NBA title in four years.
“It’s good to be back,” Cook said. “I have a lot of good memories here.”
Cook signed a two-year contract with the Warriors late in the season and was there to celebrate the title with teammates like Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry and his good friend Kevin Durant. He started several games when Curry was injured and performed well.
Sheehan and Tom Lopresti were St. Jerome co-athletic directors when Cook played there. Sheehan’s son, Tim, and Cook were teammates under the late Dick Brown. Cook was in the gymnasium to be interviewed for a HeartThreads story.
The piece, produced by WUSA’s parent company, TEGNA, will center on Cook’s unexpected loss of his father, Ted, when Quinn was 14. He signs many of his tweets, “RiP Dad.” Cook promised his father he would play in the NBA.
“We’re very proud of Quinn,” said Sheehan, now principal at St. Andrew Apostle School in Silver Spring. “He has a huge cheering section here in Hyattsville. Between his time at St. Jerome and DeMatha, he left a mark on our hearts.”
After Cook’s sit-down interview by fellow St. Jerome graduate and local Emmy award winner Francis Abbey, a camera operator followed him around campus. Joe Sego, Cook’s second St. Jerome head coach (2007), was interviewed in the lobby.
Dedicated to the memory of longtime Jaguar Basketball Camp co-organizer Charlie Grau, the lobby features four framed jerseys. Pete Devaney is honored for his many years coaching St. Jerome baseball. Kameron Taylor is recognized for his play in the German Bundesliga Basketball League. Opposite that, NBA All-Star Victor Oladipo’s No. 4 Indiana Pacers jersey rests alongside Cook’s No. 4 Warriors threads.
Cook spent two-and-a-half hours at the school he attended before venturing a half-mile north to study at DeMatha. He played for the Stags from 2007-2010 and finished his high-school career at Oak Hill Academy in rural Virginia. He won an NCAA championship at Duke in 2015.
“Quinn is a very down-to-earth guy,” Sego said. “Very few NBA players would spend that much time at an old school. He hasn’t let being among the best basketball players in the world go to his head.
“It’s one of the reasons everyone who meets him likes him.”
As Sego was about to be interviewed, he joked that he’s talked on camera several times. Laughter erupted when he asked Abbey to help him place the collar microphone properly on his shirt. They spent about 15 minutes discussing Cook.
“He’s one of the hardest working players I’ve ever coached,” Sego said.
Cook’s return to Hyattsville was a family reunion of sorts. Relatives included his mom, Janet; his sister, Kelsey; his aunt, Laree Edgecombe; and her children, Alex and Alina.
Alex is a rising senior at DeMatha and played on Sego’s 2015 CYO Mid-Atlantic City Championship team. Alina will be an eighth grader at St. Jerome and plays on the girls varsity basketball team. They both shot around with their cousin.
Cook pointed out that he never played a game on what is now Dick Brown Memorial Court. The Jaguars practiced there but played at places like DeMatha’s Morgan Wootten Gymnasium, Parkdale High School and the CYO finals at Catholic University.
“We didn’t have this nice of a floor when I was here,” Cook said of St. Jerome’s modern playing surface. “This is really nice.”
When Sheehan walked into the gym to see Cook, she was accompanied by her son Tim’s two young daughters, Miyah and Bailey. After she and Cook embraced, he bent down and greeted the little girls. They gave him hugs.
“It was great to reconnect with him,” Sheehan said. “He reminded everybody that when he was at St. Jerome, he used to spend as many nights at my house in Hyattsville as he did his own in Bowie.”
Laree Edgecombe coordinated with Cook on his Tuesday appearance. He flew in from his home in Oakland, Calif., on Monday night.
“St. Jerome basketball really is a family,” Laree said. “Even though some of us hadn’t seen each other in years, our relationships are still strong. This was a great day.”
- Quinn Cook visited DeMatha on Wednesday and had another camera crew following him. Stags Coach Mike Jones showed them a TV interview featuring Cook and Victor Oladipo. The pair played together at DeMatha from 2007-10. They won the 2009 and 2010 Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championships.
- Cook is hosting a basketball camp at First Baptist Church of Glenarden Family Life Center in Upper Marlboro. The camp runs Aug. 9-11. He also has a camp Aug. 17-18 in his college hometown of Durham, N.C.
- The Warriors will receive their NBA championship rings on the night of their home opener, Oct. 16 vs. Oklahoma City. The league announced this week that Golden State will host the Los Angeles Lakers on Christmas. The Lakers feature another of Cook’s friends, LeBron James.