The Emily K Center was filled with shoes squeaking, basketballs banging against the backboard and the floor, and children’s voices on Saturday morning—the first day of Quinn Cook’s Basketball Camp. 

Cook could be seen helping instruct some of the 125 campers in the gym, chatting with the coaches, or trying to make the children feel more comfortable. A little boy who had been nervous when he got to the camp, and was standing in the corner of the noisy gym dribbling, was approached by Cook, who talked to the boy for a little while. 

“One of the big reasons for the camp, and why coming here is so special, is because this is where it all began,” Janet Cook, his mother, said. 

The Washington native took some time after winning the 2018 NBA championship with the Golden State Warriors to continue his children’s basketball camp. This is the third year the camp has taken place, but the first time it's being held outside of Maryland.

“My mom wanted to bring it here,” Cook said. “It’s a second home for us...so many fans, friends and family down here. For us to have it here at the Emily K is truly a blessing, and I’m thankful. There are a lot of great people who’ve been supportive.” 

Cook attended Duke from 2011-15, winning the NCAA championship with Duke during his senior season. 

“That was the beautiful thing about that team—there was no superstar,” Cook’s mother said. “They all jelled. That’s why they won I believe.” 

After going undrafted in 2015, Cook played in the Las Vegas Summer League and in the NBA G-League, where he was rookie of the year in 2016 as a member of the Canton Charge, the affiliate of the Cleveland Cavaliers. 

“To wake up every day and go play basketball is something that’s been my strongest passion,” Cook said. “Obviously it wasn’t where I wanted to be, so it was more motivation and something that made me tougher. I didn’t have the easy way. I didn’t think I would have to take that road, just with all I’ve done with basketball, but I had to. It was humbling and I had a great support system. I had so many people in my corner. I just kept pursuing my dream.” 

His deceased father was from Cleveland, and he had many fans supporting him at games in Canton.  

“It was tough...still being in the G league," Janet Cook said. "I think he feels a sense of gratitude. He feels very fortunate to have had those opportunities. And that’s segued into his actual dream of being in the NBA."

After a series of 10-day contracts with the Dallas Mavericks and the New Orleans Pelicans, Cook signed with Golden State. He got his first NBA start in December and picked up more playing time at the end of the regular season during Stephen Curry’s injury absence. He had a number of high-scoring games in March, with his career-high 30-point game coming at the end of the month. 

“I was just staying ready,” he said. “My coaches, my teammates always instilled confidence in me—they always had belief in me. So it was easy for me to just go out there and be myself. I had some bad games, but I just stayed ready. And my team just really believed in me.” 

In April, Cook was signed to a two-year contract with the Warriors. He went on to play in the postseason and even got some minutes in the championship series, when Golden State beat the Cavaliers.  

“[Playing in the postseason] was fun...something that you always dream of,” the former Blue Devil said. “I grew up watching every playoff basketball game that I can remember. To actually play in the payoffs, and to contribute, is something I’ve always been waiting for. I was ready, I was excited...a whole bunch of feelings.” 

Cook is looking forward to the coming season with the Warriors, when he hops to continue to use the opportunities to get better and learn from people around him.

“I know in the organization I’m in, I have all the right tools to do it,” Cook said about taking his game to another level. “Just being around these great players, seeing how they work and getting to pick their brain for another year, I know this opportunity I have is special and I just want to keep being a great teammate.” 

He hopes to use this basketball camp to let kids have fun and teach them life lessons about basketball.  

“Anybody who you ask or encounter who’s played basketball can tell you that they’ve learned various life lessons from basketball," Cook said. "Really having fun and teaching life lessons is the biggest thing that we try to emphasize."

In the coming years, Cook’s mother hopes to not only continue with the basketball camp, but wants to emphasize an anti-bullying campaign, as she thinks this is an issue that is affecting kids nowadays.  

“In today’s society, especially with social media, people don’t realize how powerful words are and how [bullying] affects people,” Cook said. “It’s something that my mom is really passionate about.” 

Janet Cook hopes that her son can make an impact on these children’s lives. 

“If one parent has told me, 50 have told me, what an inspiration Quinn is. Just from his resiliency, his tenacity, and his belief in self," Janet Cook said. "He feels it is his duty to help other young people do the same, on the court and off the court.”