Quinn Cook calls 2013 Elite Eight loss his 'fuel'

Quinn Cook can reach the first Final Four of his career with a win Sunday against Gonzaga.
Quinn Cook can reach the first Final Four of his career with a win Sunday against Gonzaga.

HOUSTON—Each of Quinn Cook's first three NCAA tournaments has ended in heartbreak.

For the senior, the worst loss of his career was not Duke's opening round exits at the hands of 15th-seeded Lehigh in 2012 and 14th-seeded Mercer in 2014, but the 2013 Midwest Regional Final against Louisville, in which the Blue Devils fell one game short of reaching the Final Four.

After falling to the Mountain Hawks as a freshman, Cook refused to watch the rest of the NCAA tournament. His next two years, he watched on television as other teams achieved his dreams and cut down the nets.

Cook has been fired up all season long, looking to claim a national title as a freshman.

"The past two years watching it—just being jealous of the teams there and wanting the opportunity," Cook said. "I just had that fuel in me, embracing the work that comes with it, embracing being the leader and just letting the chips fall where they may."

Cook said watching the Final Four never hurt more than after his sophomore season, when the Blue Devils had fallen 85-63 to top-seeded Louisville in the Elite Eight the week before.

"I [watched] the Final Four mad," Cook said. "I would just watch it like, 'Ah, we should be there.'"

Playing for a Duke team with only three players who had ever won an NCAA tournament game entering this year's postseason—let alone played in Elite Eight—Cook has tried to explain to the younger Blue Devils what the pain feels like.

"I remind them that it can turn quickly," Cook said. "I felt like our Duke team that year [in 2013], we were special. But one game and you're done. We didn't play well at all against Louisville that year. We have to bring it every day, and our young guys know that."

With a matchup against second-seeded Gonzaga Sunday, Cook has a chance to erase the memory of 2013 and reach the promised land.


Share and discuss “Quinn Cook calls 2013 Elite Eight loss his 'fuel'” on social media.