Although declaring for the 2023 NBA Draft, former Tulane Green Wave point guard Jalen Cook will keep his collegiate options open, namely a decision to enter the transfer portal if he withdraws from the draft.
Should he return to college for his senior season, the school that gets him will see their production enhanced by a skilled playmaker looking to build off of an impressive sophomore and junior season.
Cook had his best season yet in 2022-23, as he averaged 19.9 points, 4.9 assists, and 1.8 steals game for the Green Wave, carrying the offense and making stellar plays on defense.
Though Tulane will definitely hate to lose him, here are the six best transfer destinations for former Green Wave star Jalen Cook.
6 best transfer destinations for former Tulane basketball star Jalen Cook
Cook could always choose to go back to LSU, especially given the fanfare that surrounds the school after the women’s basketball team won the 2023 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship. Especially when considering that he has yet to leave the state of Louisiana, the place where he was born.
Besides, the Tigers men’s team could definitely use some backcourt help, particularly the scoring ability that Cook possesses. It doesn’t hurt that in the SEC, Cook would be on national television and in front of top scouts far more often than he was at Tulane either. A conference with Kentucky, Texas A&M, and Alabama in it will do that type of thing.
St. John’s Red Storm
With just three remaining players on the roster, Jalen Cook could be the focal piece for head coach Rick Pitinos St. John’s Red Storm. However, that wouldn’t be the only draw for Cook, as all eyes will be on Pitino and the Red Storm program thanks to his success at the University of Louisville.
Speaking of the Louisville Cardinals, Pitino’s success in coaching Donovan Mitchell — not the first NBA player who coached at the collegiate level — could be another draw for Cook, a smaller guard just like the current NBA All-Star. As would his proven success coaching a smaller program, such as the Iona Gaels.
Unless Isaiah Wong returns for a fifth season, Jalen Cook will have a good chance to pick up where he left off. Though senior wing Jordan Miller will be gone, that also provides extra impetus for Cook to transfer to Miami, as greater offensive responsibility could allow him to shine just enough to have his name move up in the 2024 draft rankings.
It doesn’t hurt that Miami will likely enter 2023-24 as a top-25 ranked team, having steadily built up a reputation as a high-level basketball program under Hurricanes head coach Jim Larranaga.
After losing the talented Keyon Menifield to the Arkansas Razorbacks, the Washington Huskies could use a player of Cooks caliber. Though the Huskies have only one NCAA Tournament appearance under head coach Mike Hopkins, the Huskies face better competition than Cook faced at Tulane.
The Pac-12 conference is one of the best in college sports period. When it comes to the schools in the conference though, UCLA, USC, Oregon, and Arizona are just the tip of the iceberg. Whether Cook was looking for more exposure or wanted to test his mettle against what would presumably be a higher level of competition, he would get that by transferring to Washington.
Oral Roberts Golden Eagles
Alternatively, while the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles don’t play in a powerhouse conference, they’ve had a decent amount of success as of late. Making it to the NCAA Tournament in two of the last three years, Cook could get a chance to win a national championship if he transferred to Oral Roberts. Not to mention having plenty of scouts in the stand during March Madness.
With star guard Max Abmas choosing to enter the transfer portal, Cook can step right in as the starting point guard and go-to scorer.
The VCU Rams aren’t just a team well-regarded for their consistent ability to make it to the NCAA Tournament, as they’re seen as one of the most well-run and well-coached programs in the country as well. Cook opting to transfer to VCU would be a sign that he’s prioritizing his fundamentals ahead of the 2024 NBA Draft.
Though not one of the best offensive teams, that could actually play in Cook’s favor, as he’s sure to shine on that end after scoring 19.0 points per game over the past two seasons. No slouch on the defensive end, Cook should fit right into the suffocating scheme of the Rams on that end especially.
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