Marquie Cooke Dismissed

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Marquie Cooke Dismissed

Virginia Tech announced Monday afternoon that freshman point guard Marquie
Cooke has been dismissed from the basketball team for unspecified reasons.
"Marquie failed to abide by a set of standards we set for our basketball
team," Virginia Tech head men’s basketball coach Seth Greenberg said in a
hokiesports.com press release. "We wish Marquie well in the future."
The dismissal brings to an end a short VT career for Cooke, who struggled to
find his place in Blacksburg and to adapt to college basketball.

Marquie Cooke
struggled to find
his place at Virginia Tech.

Cooke was the jewel of VT’s 2004 recruiting class, a promising five-man class
that has now lost its two most highly-rated players, Cooke and JUCO transfer
Justin Holt, who was dismissed last spring without ever playing a minute for the
Hokies. That leaves Robert Krabbendam, Wynton Witherspoon, and ACC All-Freshman
selection Deron Washington as the three remaining members of the class.

When he signed with the Hokies in 2004 out of Nansemond River High School in
Suffolk, Virginia, Cooke was regarded as the most highly sought-after recruit
for the Hokies since Dell Curry 20 years before. He was rated as the #8 point
guard in the nation and the #45 player overall by Rivals.com. But Cooke also had
a reputation as a potential behavior problem, a reputation earned when he was
dismissed from a Nike basketball camp for allegedly having a run-in with a staff
member over the condition of his uniform.

That incident caused many of the schools recruiting Cooke to back off of him,
improving the Hokies’ chances. VT head coach Seth Greenberg brought it home from
there.

“Me and Coach Greenberg have a great relationship,” Cooke told
TechSideline.com’s Chris Horne, just before committing to VT in October of 2003.
“He’s committed to making me a better basketball player on and off the
court, so I committed to him. I’m looking forward to leading Virginia Tech to
some championships.”

But Cooke didn’t fare well once he entered Virginia Tech, struggling both on
and off the court. On the court, he started just one game, averaged 16.7 minutes
per contest, and posted averages of 3.6 points per game, 1.6 rebounds per game,
and 1.6 assists per game. He shot just 31% from the field, including only 19%
from the three-point line.

Cooke was moody and often sulked on the bench during games when he didn’t
play a key role. He was suspended for the January 8th game at Florida State for
arriving back late from the holiday break, and he took a leave of absence from
the team following VT’s ACC tournament loss to Georgia Tech. Cooke reportedly
had a run-in with VT coaches or players, or both, in the locker room following
that GT loss, and he missed the NIT games against Temple and Memphis.

While Cooke’s loss hurts from a depth standpoint (despite the fact that he
was struggling with his game, he led the team in minutes off the bench), it has
a silver lining. The Hokies will now have three scholarships available for the
2006 recruiting class, instead of just two. Virginia Tech is in good shape with
many well-regarded high school juniors and might be able to make good use of the
extra scholarship.

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