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Sunday, March 03, 2024

Top recruit Sidney Cooks has UW in her final five

While the Wisconsin men’s basketball team just finished inking three four-star recruits this week for their 2017 recruiting class, the women’s basketball team and head coach Jonathan Tsipis have a program-altering recruit on the dawn of her decision.

Her name is Sidney Cooks.

If she chooses Wisconsin, she will give the Badger program hope––something that has been missing for quite some time.

The coveted recruit is a home-grown, six-foot-four-inch forward from St. Joseph Catholic Academy in Kenosha, Wisconsin. As just a freshman, she averaged a near-double-double, with 11.5 points per game and 9.4 rebounds. The forward continued on a tear her sophomore year, garnering state recognition in an all-state honorable mention for the WBCA Division 4, but even bigger, national interest in the blossoming sophomore's collegiate prospects.

With eyes of the state––and country––on the junior, her game only elevated: Cooks averaged 23.1 points per game, while grabbing 12.5 rebounds per game in her next year with the Lancers. The stellar play culminated in a selection to the USA Women’s Basketball 3x3 U18 World Championship team and the U18 National Team, which ended in silver and gold medals respectively for the forward.

Her play piqued even more interest in Cooks’ upcoming senior year, as her decision on where she would take her talents in college was just over the horizon. That decision day has finally come, as the fifth-best recruit in the class of 2017 will make her decision at 8 a.m. November 15th.

At first, her top ten included Wisconsin along with Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Purdue, No. 4 South Carolina, No. 13 Tennessee and No. 9 UCLA. Then, August 8th, she decided on a top five that still included Wisconsin, along with UCLA, Michigan State, Michigan and Purdue.

UCLA not only is currently ranked No. 9 in the AP Top 25, but also touts the No. 9 ranking in the 2017 class rankings, per ESPN. With a grab like Cooks, UCLA would be a force to be reckoned with, considering the firepower of recruits that already headline their incoming freshman class. The Bruins are the only ranked team in her top five––although Michigan State has the most votes of non-top 25 schools––which can work in favor of Wisconsin, as they are competing with other non-juggernaut Big Ten schools.

But, will UCLA’s successful track record and already loaded class of 2017 be too much to pass up for Cooks?

Or, will the prospect of the forward being the leader in the Tsipis Era, along with the close proximity to home, be enough to sway Cooks to pick the upstart Wisconsin program?

These questions will be answered Tuesday, and the course for badgers women’s basketball, could be in for an unprecedented shakeup.

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