Welcome to A10 Talk’s Top 25 Player Countdown. Each day, we publish a new article counting down the 25 best players in the Atlantic 10 this past season. Today, we continue our countdown with #10 Charles Cooke.
Charles Cooke was one of the best Atlantic 10 players to not receive enough credit last season. Though he didn’t make a huge jump on the stat sheet, he was one of the biggest reasons why Dayton was able to win the A-10 regular season title. Cooke was a solid scorer that could always be counted on for a big performance in conference play. Cooke was an Atlantic 10 All-Second Team performer that easily could’ve made the first team. He’s been an unstoppable scorer on the offensive end during his tenure at Dayton; when Charles Cooke wanted to get a basket, he was going to get a basket.
Charles Cooke’s highest scoring performance came at the beginning of last season. The senior dropped 31 points on Austin Peay in a 96-68 rout. Though he wouldn’t put up those kind of scoring numbers again, he’d certainly affect other areas of the game frequently. Cooke had a 17 point, 7 rebound, and 6 assist night against Davidson in an overtime win on the road. Though Scoochie Smith stole the show in the extra session, Cooke was the reason Dayton was still in the game. He’d follow that up with a 20 point, 5 assist night against VCU, a performance that would help Dayton seal the regular season title.
Dayton’s star played particularly well during the Flyers’ 9 game winning streak at the end of conference play. He scored in double figures in 8 of those 9 games. Cooke also had a number of impressive showings in the non-conference portion of Dayton’s schedule. He had 20 point nights against Winthrop and Portland. Cooke also scored 24 points against East Tennessee St. Charles Cooke was key in taking down Alabama at the beginning of the season, scoring 19 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. He had his fair share of clutch games.
Charles Cooke led the Flyers in scoring and rebounding at 15.8 points and 5.1 boards per game. He also put in work on the defensive end of the floor with 1.1 steals and 1.0 blocks per game. Charles Cooke had the 6th best three point shooting percentage in conference play, knocking down 41.5% of his long range attempts. Cooke had the 13th best assist rate in the conference and also the 15th best effective field goal percentage.
Charles Cooke was a team player on both ends of the floor. He was a natural leader on offense, hitting big shots when his team needed them most. He was a beast on defense, coming up with clutch steals and big blocks when the Flyers needed a stop. Unfortunately, he’ll be moving on from the Atlantic 10, but he’ll be remembered as one of the Flyers’ best scorers and all-around players in the last decade. Dayton will need to find a new player to step up and hit big shots. Not only was Charles Cooke clutch, but he was physical. Those are tough qualities to come by.