In the months leading up to the 2017-’18 college basketball season, BTPowerhouse will be releasing a new series called the 'BTPowerhouse 25,' which features the Top 25 players in the Big Ten as voted by members of the staff. All players set to be on Big Ten rosters for next season were eligible during the staff vote with their top selection receiving 25 points and their 25th and final selection receiving 1 point.
Fabulous young players continue to crowd our Top 25 list for this coming season. Today, we look at Iowa forward Tyler Cook, who appears at our No. 16 spot. Cook is the second Hawkeye to make our listings, the other being Jordan Bohannon at No. 23.
‘BTPowerhouse 25’ - #16 Tyler Cook:
- Eligibility: Sophomore
- Career Totals: 27 games, 662 minutes, 331 points, 143 rebounds, 26 assists, 18 steals
- 2016-’17 Averages: 24.5 minutes, 12.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1 assist, 0.7 steals
- Positional Role: Power Forward
Cook only appeared in 27 of Iowa’s 34 games in 2016-’17, missing almost all of December due to a broken finger. Despite the injury, Cook was able to post some very honorable splits last year as a freshman. So honorable in fact that he was voted to the Big Ten All-Freshman team at the end of the season.
However, Iowa as a team had stretches of good play and bad. Ultimately, they finished with a 18-13 regular season record. After losing their first Big Ten Tournament game to Indiana, the Hawkeyes finished the season with an overtime loss to TCU in the second round of the NIT Tournament.
Cook is a tremendously efficient finisher around the rim, and that is, obviously, incredibly valuable for a power forward. From two-point range alone, Cook shot nearly 57 percent from the field. Most of his baskets come around the rim, from dump offs or rolling to the basket off a screen. His outstanding athleticism allows him to elevate regardless of the defender and finish, even if there is contact. Cook also has the capability of backing down a defender and getting baskets.
Personally, I love players that show emotion while on the floor, and Cook shows quite a bit of it. There is no player an opponent despises more than a player who celebrates after a score or big play. In that regard, Cook can play the mental game with his adversary, and win handily. This is an underrated asset to have and Cook has it. As long as he can keep himself in check, he will be able to dominate opponents in the mental aspect of the game.
Areas for Improvement
As is the case for many post players, Cook is not stellar from the free throw line. Last season, he shot just a little under 60 percent from the line. Any casual basketball fan knows how much free throws matter, especially late in a close games. Cook needs to improve that aspect otherwise what is Fran McCaffery’s motivation for keeping him on the floor late in games?
Another glaring weakness for Cook is turnovers. He was second on the team last season in turnovers per game with 2.4. Turnovers also keep you off the floor in dire situations, and if Cook turns the ball over like he did in 2016-’17 he might be on the bench in crunch time.
The Hawkeyes are an extremely young team heading into 2017-’18. There will be a fair amount of growing pains as these young players are given more responsibility. However, Iowa is still looking for their “go to guy” and Tyler Cook could very well become that as the season progresses.
‘BT Powerhouse 25’ Rankings:
- #26-31 - Players That Just Missed The Cut
- #24 - Juwan Morgan (Indiana Hoosiers)
- #24 - Dakota Mathias (Purdue Boilermakers)
- #23 - Jordan Bohannon (Iowa Hawkeyes)
- #22 - Anthony Cowan (Maryland Terrapins)
- #21 - Reggie Lynch (Minnesota Golden Gophers)
- #20 - Kevin Huerter (Maryland Terrapins)
- #19 - Carsen Edwards (Purdue Boilermakers)
- #18 - Robert Johnson (Indiana Hoosiers)
- #17 - Isaac Haas (Purdue Boilermakers)
- #16 - Tyler Cook (Iowa Hawkeyes)
- #15 - to be continued...