Malik Cooke, a 6-foot-5 forward who started every game as a sophomore for Nevada, has enrolled at USC and plans to walk on to the Gamecocks men’s basketball team, according to his high school coach.
Because of NCAA transfer rules, Cooke would not be eligible to play for the Gamecocks this season. His overall status is also up in the air, as Nevada has not released him to sign with another school. Cooke and his family are paying his own way to USC.
Cooke played at Christ School in Arden, N.C., with Lakeem Jackson, who will be a freshman on this year’s Gamecock team.
“He and Lakeem have been friends for a long time,” said David Gaines, the coach at Christ School.
Cooke was the third-leading scorer and second-leading rebounder last season at Nevada. He averaged 9.6 points and 6.2 rebounds per game.
Nevada went 21-13 and was eliminated in the College Basketball Invitational. Coach Mark Fox left to become the coach at Georgia at season’s end.
Gaines said Cooke has a 7-foot wing span, is a smart player and plays unselfish.
Cooke first spoke to Gamecocks coach Darrin Horn on Wednesday, when he stopped by the coach’s office, according to Gaines.
“Can he play at a very athletic SEC level? I think so. I don’t think he’s going to be a 32-minute-a-game guy,” Gaines said. “But the guy won in high school. And (Horn) likes winners, obviously. I think whether they pick him up as a walk on or eventually get him as a scholarship player, I don’t that’s a bad pickup, for a guy who just showed up at your school.”