February 22, 2012

Cook sets the Bethel table

Kevin McCarthy

Teams such as Bethel High don't get to 21-6, 9-1 in the Solano County Athletic League without a maestro conducting on the floor and that's where Rodney Cook comes into play. For a team on an 11-game winning streak and a two-game margin over second place Rodriguez High, he'll set up teammates if that's what is needed or supply points if that calling comes to the fore.

photo of Rodney Cook

Two games back, it was Cook putting up 31 points in a 101-79 victory versus Vallejo that earned Bethel the league championship.

On February 9, try 21 markers in an 85-72 win over Rodriguez. Last season, Bethel finished one game behind Rodriguez in league play

There may not be an exact science to Cook's effectiveness but as he explains, "I'm taking advantage of what the defense gives me."

He added, "I see myself as a floor general, running plays and getting my teammates involved. I'm a vocal leader and that helps because a lot of our guys are football players playing basketball and sometimes I need to direct them to where they need to be."

But he does so wisely.

"You have to know your teammates, how to communicate with them, what works."

Cook credits C.J. Anderson, now a running back at California, for helping him when Anderson was at Bethel and Cook has emulated that with his teammates.

Plus, what warms the cockles of the eternal coaching heart is Cook's philosophy of competition: "I'd rather have five points and 10 assists and trade my 31 points to make it to Arco and win."

Although "basketball is what I am, my first love and what I was doing since I was little," Cook is willing to discuss playing football at the next level.

"I'm open to doing both."

Gridiron coaches take note.

He currently checks in at 5-foot-11 and 177 pounds "but I'm working on the weights."

As for academics, he in on target. "I had a couple of slipups in ninth grade but I'm making those up." Sports management is his preferred major come college time.

Regarding recruiting, it's "a lot of junior colleges and also Chico State" displaying interest.

Lead, follow or get out of the way, Cook's chosen role is the first.