Lenny Cooke

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Lenny Cooke
Shooting guard
Personal information
Born (1982-04-29) April 29, 1982 (age 32)
Brooklyn, New York
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Listed weight 206 lb (93 kg)
Career information
High school Northern Valley Regional
(Old Tappan, New Jersey)
NBA draft 2002 / Undrafted

Leonard "Lenny" Cooke (born April 29, 1982) is an American former high school and professional basketball player. Born in Brooklyn, New York, he is known primarily for being an early entry candidate in the 2002 NBA Draft. He had averaged 25 points, 10 rebounds, two steals, and two blocks per game in his junior year of high school. Following his junior year in high school, he averaged 31.5 points for the first eight games of his senior year. When he turned 19 in 2001, he was academically ineligible to play according to high school athletics' rules in his home county in New Jersey. Cooke is the subject of the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival selected documentary film Lenny Cooke by the Safdie Brothers.


Cooke could not play organized high school basketball as a senior by accidentally exhausting his high school eligibility. Cooke attended La Salle Academy in the Lower East Side of Manhattan in New York City from 1999-2000. He then achieved an average 30 points and 15 rebounds. Cooke was then persuaded by Debbie Bortner to attend Northern Valley Regional High School located in Old Tappan, New Jersey, from 2000 to February 2002. Next, he attended Mott Adult High School in Flint, Michigan in February and March 2002, though he did not play basketball. At Franklin K. Lane High School, in Brooklyn, he was honored as Freshman of the Year. He earned MVP honors in the 2000 Adidas ABCD camp. He scored 21 points to help the Eastern Conference defeat the West 115-103, at the EA Sports Roundball Classic at the United Center in Chicago on March 8, 2002. Lenny Cooke was rated #4 High School Player in the United States in the Prep Stars Recruiter’s Handbook.


Cooke had other options for basketball: North Carolina, Seton Hall, St. John's, Miami and Ohio State. After verbally committing to St. John's University, Cooke however chose to declare himself eligible for the 2002 NBA Draft. When all 29 of the NBA teams passed on Cooke in both rounds, he joined the Rucker Park Summer League in New York, playing for the Terror Squad team.

Note: In 2006, the practice of drafting high school players was prohibited by the NBA's new collective bargaining agreement, which required that players who entered the draft be 19 years of age and at least one year removed from high school.

Later that same year, he was drafted by the Columbus Riverdragons of the NBDL. Additionally, Cooke tried out for the Brevard Blue Ducks of the USBL in April 2003. Next, he was signed to the Brooklyn Kings in May, also within the USBL. In 15 games, he averaged 28.8 points and more than nine rebounds per game.

Later that year, Cooke was back to the Rucker Park Summer League. Then, he found himself playing in the Philippine Basketball Association for the Purefoods TJ Hotdogs. In addition, Cooke was signed with the Shanghai Dongfang Sharks in December 2003. Lenny averaged 16.7 points and a near seven rebounds per game. By 2004, he had returned to the PBA's Purefoods team but suffered his second injury with the team in the season opener and was out for the rest of the tournament. After not being drafted to the NBA, via age limit, he continued to work out. Cooke played for the Minot Skyrockets of the CBA in 2006-07.

2003 awards and accomplishments[edit]

  • League scoring title
  • Rookie of the Year
  • All-USBL Second Team
  • All-Rookie Team
  • League Steals Leader
  • League Offensive Rebounds Leader
  • League Field Goals Leader
  • League Free Throws Leader
  • Two-Time Player of the Week
  • Two-Time Rookie of the Week
  • Most Points: Single Game, Most Field Goals: Single Game, Most Free Throws Made: Single Game

References and external links[edit]