Earlier this week, James Madison transfer Charles Cooke was scheduled to visit Dayton. By Wednesday morning, Cooke had reportedly committed to the Flyers.
Cooke decided to transfer from James Madison following two seasons with the Dukes. He had drawn interest from Michigan State, Penn State and several programs in the Atlantic 10 besides Dayton. He had planned visits to Rhode Island and Duquesne for the the next week.
The 6-foot-6 saw a spike of almost nine points in his scoring average, recording 14.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game in the 2013-2014 season. He was a member of the Dukes team that reached the NCAA tournament in 2013.
Dayton graduated Devin Oliver and Vee Sanford from this year’s Elite 8 team. Still, the Flyers are still viewed as one of the favorites in the Atlantic 10 along with VCU. Archie Miller returns an abundance of young talent in addition to leading scorer and rising senior Jordan Sibert. Cooke’s contributions for the 2014-2015 season will be limited to providing quality competition during practice.
He’ll have to sit out the upcoming year, due to NCAA transfer rules. Cooke will have two years of eligibility remaining.
James Madison transfer wing Charles Cooke had narrowed down his options to three schools.
According to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports, the rising junior is considering Michigan State, Dayton and Rhode Island. Cooke has been on the URI campus previously and has a visit to Dayton lined up in June.
The 6-foot-6 Cooke was part of the James Madison team that qualified for the 2013 NCAA Tournament. In his sophomore season he saw his scoring average spike from 5.8 points to 14.3 points per game to go along with 5.0 boards and 1.4 steals he recorded a contest.
Michigan State is in need of a player out of the wing. The Spartans are also recruiting West Virginia guard Eron Harris. Dayton, on the heels of its Elite 8 run, is one of the preseason favorites in the Atlantic 10 along with VCU. Archie Miller has an abundance of young talent on that roster — 10 freshmen and sophomores in 2013-2014 — with three more recruits joining the program. Rhode Island, a team that could emerge as a threat to Dayton and VCU in the A-10, has one of the conference’s best perimeter attacks anchored by E.C. Matthews, Biggie Minnis, T.J. Buchanan and the incoming guard duo of Jarvis Garrett and four-star prospect Jared Terrell.
Cooke will have two years of eligibility remaining.
Given how much production James Madison lost from last season’s NCAA tournament team and the fact that Andre Nation won’t be available until the Dukes begin CAA play, it comes as no surprise that they’ve struggled offensively this season. Charles Cooke (15.6 ppg, 4.0 rgp, 2.1 apg), Ron Curry (11.9, 4.5, 2.7) and Andre Semenov (11.3, 4.8) are all averaging double digits, but from an efficiency standpoint the 2013-14 season has been a struggle for Matt Brady’s bunch.
JMU entered Saturday’s game against Hampton ranked 261st in adjusted offensive efficiency per Ken Pomeroy, and if not for their ability to get to the foul line (48th in free throw rate) it can be argued that the Dukes would be even worse than their 3-9 record. JMU once again struggled offensively on Saturday, scoring 0.85 points per possession and turning the ball over on nearly 28% of their possessions.
But they still shot better from the field than the Pirates, who made just 32% of their shots from the field and 24% (6-for-25) from beyond the arc. The end result: a much-needed 55-49 victory in the first game of the Governor’s Holiday Hoops Classic, with Curry leading all scorers with 19 points and being the most polished offensive player on the floor. Curry shot 7-for-10 from the field, and in a game that saw James Madison (4-9) turn the ball over 18 times (Cooke was responsible for six) the sophomore guard didn’t commit one.
Cooke (1-for-7, five points) and Semenov (3-for-10, eight points) struggled offensively, but the 14 points and 21 rebounds supplied by the combination of Taylor Bessick (eight points, ten rebounds) and Tom Vodanovich (six points, 11 rebounds) helped James Madison account for two of their top three players having off afternoons. Brian Darden led three Hampton (5-7) players in double figures with 14 points.
Will much change when Nation returns to the rotation next month? Probably not, but he is a key component for James Madison and he’ll help them as the Dukes move towards the all-important conference tournament in March. The good news, and the difference, on Saturday was the fact that they still have Ron Curry.