Returning for its second edition, the Pangos All-American Festival featured an invite-only collection of 40 top players representing four regional All-American teams. Over two days, there was no shortage of talent as the four squads competed in thrilling contests at the Amplus Academy - Durango Campus in Las Vegas, NV.
Pro Insight covered the event and caught up with Mookie Cook (AZ Compass Prep/AZ and Oakland Soldiers/CA). Cook, who helped Team West win the 2021 Festival Championship, had a strong high school season playing at Jefferson (OR) before transferring to the Arizona powerhouse with his friend and teammate Lamar Washington. Most recently capturing the Oregon 6A state title, Cook averaged 22 points, 13 rebounds, and five assists per game as a sophomore. A five-star prospect, Cook is a long and versatile forward with elite playmaking and finishing abilities.
As part of the Pro Insight Q&A series, Cook highlighted his short term goals this fall, the bond with his teammates on and off the court, his recruitment update, and more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2023 prospect Mookie Cook, from Portland, Oregon:
Pro Insight: Reflecting on this summer, how did you feel about the summer and your AAU season?
Mookie Cook: I felt like summer went great, AAU went great. Of course, I feel like we should have done better in terms of winning, but besides that, everybody played well. We all looked good and it was just a great experience playing with them — the Oakland Soldiers.
PI: For those who aren’t familiar with your game, describe your strengths and play style.
MC: Someone who is going to do everything — I can guard multiple positions, can play different positions, one through four, get to the rim, create for others, and just be a leader. That’s my main thing, just try to be an alpha male out there.
PI: Is there anything in particular that you have been working on?
MC: I’ll just say polishing my jump shot and my handles ‘cause going to the next level, that’s the main thing. They are shooting deep now so I gotta make sure my jumper is always on point.
PI: Who do you model your game after or try to study on film?
MC: I watch a lot of Paul George. Recently, I just started watching a lot of Penny Hardaway. Someone told me I play a little like Penny so I started watching some clips of him and I like his game.
PI: Who have you been working out with in the gym and on the court? Do you have a trainer?
MC: Yeah, so when I was back home, me and my trainer, it was Rob Smaller, assistant coach at Lake Oswego High School. But now out here [in Arizona], I train with a trainer at AZ Compass Prep. His name is Mo [Maurice Riddick] and then I train with our assistant coach, named Coach T.
PI: What are some short term goals you have as a player this fall?
MC: I would say this year, we want to win every game and go undefeated. I’m just trying to reach for that number-one spot. And just keep on working. Steady progress. Don’t worry about nobody else, just worry about myself, because that’s what I gotta do.
PI: Talk a bit about your background. How did you get into basketball?
MC: I was always just around it. My sister played basketball. My brother did. My dad did. So just growing up, I always had a basketball in my hands and then I’d say like eight grade, just kinda blew up from there. Never really thought basketball would take me this far so I’m just blessed.
PI: Are you currently the tallest in your family?
MC: Yes I am, yeah. My dad is 6’4. My brother is 6’2. My sister is like 5’10. My mom is like 5’10 or 5’11. And I’m the tallest at 6’7.
PI: Besides height, what are your other current measurements?
MC: My wingspan is 7’0 and then I weigh like 205 pounds as of right now, trying to get to like 210, 215 pounds before the season.
PI: What are your biggest interests outside of basketball?
MC: Definitely I keep to myself sometimes. I’d be on the game, playing Call of Duty or if not, I’d be downstairs just hanging with my bros. We’d be playing board games or card games at our team house.
PI: Obviously Lamar Washington is your guy — how would you describe you guys’ brotherhood on and off the court?
MC: Man, I’d just say it’s dope being able to play with somebody you grew up with since like diapers, so like being able to just see him progress and see myself progress is dope. And our relationship is dope, man, like on and off the court — we’re always with each other. Usually, when you see me, you see Lamar. Usually on the court, you see me, you see Lamar. So just, it’s always a tandem thing and our rhythm together is dope. He always sees me on the court. He knows when I’m going to cut. He knows where I’m gonna be.
PI: Who are your favorite music artists?
MC: I listen to a lot of EST Gee right now. His new album just came out. A lot of Lil Durk. A lot of Kodak Black.
PI: If you were stuck forever on a deserted island and had all the food, water, and shelter you needed — what three personal items would you bring?
MC: That’s a good one. Is there WiFi? [interviewer nods and mentions it could be part of the shelter aspect] I’d bring my phone. My tooth brush, because I can't have stank breath. And probably my PS5.
PI: If you were given $1 million, what would be your first purchase?
MC: Probably a little condo, or something. An apartment or nice condo for myself or my moms. Give my moms a place, something like that. Yeah.
PI: You have one hashtag to describe yourself. What is it?
PI: What’s your recruitment update?
MC: The schools that are on me right now are Oregon, Memphis, Arizona, UCLA, USC, Gonzaga, Arizona State. Those are like the main ones, right now.
PI: What will ultimately factor into your final decision?
MC: Just definitely like feel, the relationship with the coach. Of course like play style, the team, who’s all going to be there. Being able to feel like it’s at home. You know what I mean, because those six months determine if I can go to the league or not so I gotta have the best fit. I’ll say the best fit with the coach, hopefully the best connection so we can be on the same page.
PI: There’s a lot more post-grad options available these days with G-League Ignite, OTE, and NBL, among others. Have you done much research into those opportunities?
MC: Yeah, of course — those things have reached out to me, but as of right now, I’m not thinking of any of those. I’m just focused on right now, just my high school and the future of college.
PI: Name four words that best describe you.
MC: Charismatic. Laid back. Relentless. Funny.
PI: At the end of the day, what do you hope to be remembered for?
MC: Someone, like that person, that comes into a room and brightens everyone's day. That’s the one big thing that I’ll always try to do. I’ll always have a smile on my face. You know, because if you have a smile on your face, that can make someone else’s day better.