DALLAS—A high school basketball coach is going above and beyond for one of his senior players, who he says has been overlooked by college scouts for a scholarship.
Senior Eric Cook at W.T. White High School in Dallas had a pretty monster season on the court. He averaged 21 points, 6 assists, and 6 rebounds per game.
On his senior night against Richardson, Cook dropped 40 points—which is uncommon in 6A play. For three years he was 1st team All-District and finished school with a 3.7 GPA.
But on Saturday, Cook will walk the stage and get his high school diploma with zero offers from D1 schools.
The 5’9” senior, who is also being looked at by Hardin-Simmons to play slot receiver in football, says his dream was to suit up and hoop for a big-name college.
“All the hard work and dedication I put in, and I have nothing,” Cook said. “Everybody’s dream is to go D1,” he said.
That’s where Ben Solesbee, one of Cook’s varsity coaches, comes in.
Solesbee has been going around Dallas the last two weeks carrying a giant poster with Cook’s stats and accolades on it.
Wearing a dress shirt and tie, he’s been standing near popular areas and highways for 45 minutes to an hour proudly hoisting up the poster.
Solesbee said the goal is for a D1 coach or member of a big program to see the sign and realize they’re missing out on his player.
“To really separate yourself, you have to do something that really catches people’s attention,” Solesbee said.
He added that Cook is likely being passed on because of his height, but said a lot of losing teams underestimated him by his size.
“He’s got a sprinter’s speed, and he beats people up and down the court,” Solesbee said. “He was our best rebounder, and he’s 5’9”.”
Solesbee added that he discovered several game plans left by opposing teams on his home court.
“There was like half a page about Eric saying this is the head of the snake, and you stop him you beat W.T. White,” Solesbee said.
According to Solesbee, he’s already exhausted all attempts to drum up interest in Cook through emails and phone calls to D1 schools and felt like a fresh approach was needed.
Solesbee has been taking pictures of himself during his journey and posting them on Twitter. In a lot of his posts, he’s been tagging D1 coaches and programs.
And, for the most part, it’s helping.
Solesbee said an assistant coach at TCU wants to Cook to workout for him soon. The senior, who was blown away by his coach’s generosity, was speechless.
“He’s going out of his way and he doesn’t have to do it,” Cook said. “I’m blessed to have a coach like him.”
Solesbee says he doesn’t just want a tryout though, he wants Cook to get a scholarship. He says he won’t drop his sign—until that happens.
“I’ll do whatever it takes to get Eric Cook to Division 1,” Solesbee said. "I'm doing a disservice to myself and my school if I don't get him a scholarship."