Medina Highland’s Cook transfers to power South Euclid Regina

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Jackie Cook averaged 23 points and 11.2 rebounds for Medina Highland through 13 games
Unhappy with the direction Medina Highland’s girls basketball program
is heading after the sudden resignation of coach Kevin Glenn last week,
junior Jackie Cook has left the school, Cook’s family announced
Thursday. Cook, a solidly built 5-foot-11 forward considered among the best
players in Highland history and among the best players in all of Northeast Ohio, has transferred to Division III
power South Euclid Regina.


Unhappy with the direction Medina Highland’s girls basketball program is heading after the sudden resignation of coach Kevin Glenn last week, junior Jackie Cook has left the school, Cook’s family announced Thursday.

Cook, a solidly built 5-foot-11 forward considered among the best players in Highland history and among the best players in the Suburban League and all of Northeast Ohio, has transferred to Division III state power South Euclid Regina, winner of five state championships in the last eight years.

Cook gives Regina another player with star power, adding to a Royals team that already includes Duke-bound Shay Selby. The Royals are ranked third in the Division III state poll. Through 13 games at Highland, Cook was averaging 23 points and 11.2 rebounds. She was shooting 44 percent from the field, despite nearly constant double- and triple-teams, and 78 percent from the foul line.

Cook has been released by Highland’s superintendent, according to her family. It wasn’t clear whether Cook would be able to play for Regina this season.

“Is it possible at all? There’s a possibility,” Cook’s father Chris said. “That has to do with personal issues in our family.”

Chris Cook would not elaborate on what those issues were, but said it was not likely his daughter would play for Regina this season.

Cook will accompany Regina to Berlin Hiland this weekend, where she will sit on the bench for the Royals’ games Saturday against West Chester Lakota West and Sunday when the Royals take on Sandusky Perkins.

Cook would not be able to play in the immediate future regardless of eligibility. She sprained her ankle last week in what turned out to be her final practice at Highland.

She said leaving Highland wasn’t easy after 21⁄2 years at the school, but added it’s no different than when her family moved from Parma Heights and into the Highland district prior to High School.

“It is tough, but I figured all my close friends will stay tight with me, even if I switch schools,” she said. “When I came to Highland I left a lot of friends before.”

The timing of the move, Chris Cook said, had to do with Catholic schools not tending to accept senior transfers. The family wanted to get her into the new school and established academically. Highland’s semester ends this week, as does Regina, so the timing is good from that standpoint.

Chris Cook said the ability to at least work out with Regina for the rest of the season will do more good than had she stayed at Highland.

“From a continued basketball development standpoint with Jackie, there was nothing going on at Highland,” he said. “AAU this season is big. It’s her last AAU season. We decided to make the switch now because we really didn’t see anything on the benefit side of basketball.”

Glenn, a former assistant coach at Regina, became Highland’s head coach prior to the 2006-07 season. He led the Hornets to an 11-10 record in his first year. Graduations of three starters left Highland with a very young and inexperienced team.

The Hornets were 3-11 at the time of Glenn’s resignation, which came after Highland’s administration asked him to go on administrative leave for reasons the administration would not disclose. The Cooks said neither Glenn nor anyone else served as an intermediary for the move.

“There was a relationship with (Regina coach Pat) Diulus and in the basketball circles,” Chris Cook said. “Not that anybody solicited us to go anywhere, it was our choice. … And Jackie happens to be friends with a couple people on the Regina team. She’s friends with Shay. When you’re a player, you’ve got friends all over. (Sophomore Regina guard) Tay Mingo is friends with her. They hang out socially.”

Glenn said he introduced the Cooks to Diulus, but that was as far as that went. The family said Walsh Jesuit, where Cook’s brother Connor is a student, was also considered along with Akron Hoban.

Jackie Cook said she didn’t know whether she would still be at Highland had Glenn remained coach. She was a supporter of the former coach and unhappy about his resignation, regardless of the circumstances.

“Everything happens for a reason,” she said. “If he was still there things might be different, they might be.”

Glenn, however, saw it differently.

“She was going to transfer whether I was there or not,” he said. “She was going to transfer right now.”

Cook, who is being recruited by such colleges as Seton Hall and West Virginia, played her final game for Highland against Wadsworth, a perennial state power. In that game she scored 23 points.

“I thought we played some great defense on her and she made some shots that were big-time college moves,” Wadsworth coach Andrew Booth said at the time. “I really have admiration for her competitive spirit. A lesser kid mentally would tank it.”

Highland athletic director and interim girls basketball coach Bo Kuntz had no comment on the situation.

Glenn, an assistant coach at Regina throughout its run of state championships, said he believes Cook will thrive with the Royals.

“It is of my opinion, and I have been around the Regina program since its beginning, that Jackie Cook is one of the best players I’ve ever been around,” he said. “I think she will excel tremendously there.”

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