Jeannette grad Cook embraces role at Coastal Carolina
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Kayla Cook admits she's a different player this year than she was during her first two years of college basketball.
“I've gotten a lot better,” said Cook, a Jeannette High School graduate. “I'm becoming more mature as a player. In high school, I had to take every shot. Here, I've learned to look for others because they're going to look for me.”
In other words, she's embracing her role.
“There's no question she's more mature,” said head coach Alan LeForce. “A lot of young ladies come out of high school and they were the first or second-best player on the team.
“Everybody plays to them and so on. So, in college, you get a bunch of them in the same situation. You just have to adjust and play with other people. This year, she's doing that.”
The result is that Cook, a 5-foot 10-inch junior shooting guard, is playing a bigger role for the Chanticleers. For one thing, she's a team captain.
Statistically, she's sixth on the team with 61 points, a 5.1 per game average, for NCAA Division I Coastal which entered the week 7-7 overall, 2-2 in the Big South Conference.
While a back injury kept her out of the lineup twice and limited in a few others, she has played in 12 of the Chanticleers' 14 games. She's started seven games.
“She's been playing off of the bench because, when she comes in, she brings us some instant offense,” said LeForce.
The coach does expect Cook to start more and more as the year goes on. Additionally, during the games she doesn't start, she still may play as many minutes as the starters.
“Really we have seven or eight starters,” he said. “Kayla has a good attitude. She's adjusted to that role, coming off of the bench. It's not that she doesn't deserve to start, but when she comes off the bench, she provides a spark.”
LeForce attributes much of Cook's success to her impressive work ethic.
“She worked as hard as anyone ever has for us in the offseason,” he said.
Cook started in Coastal's 64-56 win over Charleston Southern on Saturday, scoring five points and grabbing four rebounds.
“She puts the ball on the floor well, takes it to the basket,” said LeForce.
“Because of her strength factor, she makes some shots around the basket, and her outside shot, she worked on it the whole summer. It's improved.”
Cook said her focus is on team success and racking up Big South wins.
“We're a way better team that last year. We've moved forward a lot, and we still don't have seniors,” she said. “Team-wise, to we want to do well in conference (play) and get high seed in the conference tournament.”
The team hosts High Point in a conference game tonight at 7.
The game will be broadcast at goccusports.com.
Weightman to play in NYCBL
College baseball season isn't even here yet, but already Brian Weightman has baseball lined up for after the college season.
Weightman, a Jeannette grad, could be in contention as a junior for a starting outfield spot at Division I St. Bonaventure during the college season. After that campaign wraps up, Weightman will play in the New York Collegiate Baseball League, a wooden bat league.
Weightman will play for the Geneva Red Wings, a team owned by Texas Rangers scout Dave Herbst.
For 35 years, the NYCBL has served as a development league for professional baseball. The league gives college players who have not yet signed a professional contract the opportunity to develop their skills at a higher level of play in front of pro scouts.
DePalma Edinboro Athlete of the Week
Jeannette grad Michael DePalma, a redshirt freshman on the Edinboro University wrestling team, was named the school's male Athlete of the Week last week.
In the team's match with the University of Buffalo Sunday, DePalma trailed 4-0 after two periods against Wally Maziarz at the 157-pound weight class. He grabbed a quick takedown to start the third period to make it 4-2, let his opponent loose to make it 5-2, then took him down again to make it 5-4.
Rapidly, DePalma let Maziarz escape once more then took him down a third time to make it 6-6. DePalma turned his opponent to the mat, collected three near fall points and a riding time point to grab a 10-6 victory.
Team-wise, Edinboro won 28-9. DePalma is now 17-6 this season.
Division I Edinboro is 4-1 in dual meet action. The squad will compete in the University of Virginia Duals this weekend.
Brian Knavish is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.