When last we heard from Tyler Cook, he was shooting down some pesky rumors about him transferring to Missouri (basically: if he wanted to go to Missouri, he would have gone to Missouri when he left high school). Well, now we have a little bit more information about Tyler Cook's next step: testing the NBA Draft process.
Tyler should take advantage of this opportunity and we fully support his decision, coach Fran McCaffery pic.twitter.com/pyflKa2SL3
— Iowa Basketball (@IowaHoops) March 9, 2018
This is certainly happier news than "Tyler Cook is planning to transfer to _______." Cook has submitted paperwork for early entry to the 2018 NBA Draft, but has not hired an agent (and it does not sound like he intends to do so), which means he can exit the Draft pool and return to Iowa for the 2018-19 season.
While Cook's sophomore season was definitely disappointing from a team perspective, he improved individually in almost every statistical category. His offensive rating went from 99.7 to 108.8, he made 57.5% of his shots (versus 56.5% a year ago), and improved his free throw shooting from 59.8% to 66.1%. His rebounding rates also improved (9.1% on offensive rebounds and 18.2% on defensive rebounds, versus 8.7% and 14.3% as a freshman), and he also upped his assist rate (12.5 versus 7.9) and decreased his turnover rate (19.0 versus 21.7), although it's still a bit on the high side. Cook didn't take a quantum leap forward as a sophomore, but he did improve and there was certainly hope that he would continue to grow as a player and improve next season at Iowa (as he still might).
On paper, Cook doesn't project as a significant NBA Draft prospect yet -- he doesn't make the Top 100 prospects at ESPN or several other outlets -- but he could certainly improve his stock by going to the various NBA Draft training camps and impressing there. At the very least, Cook will get honest feedback about areas he needs to improve (say, his defense and his jump shot), which he can use as motivation at Iowa next season (assuming he does in fact return to school). The revised NBA Draft process that lets prospects get an honest assessment of their strengths and weaknesses and their likely placement in the draft has been a very good development and it's not a bad thing for Cook to take advantage of the process. Peter Jok did it a few years ago and he came back with a dynamite senior season in Iowa City. Best of luck to Cook as he goes through this process, and in whatever decisions he makes next.