After a strong prep basketball career at Auburn High, Preston Cook took his talents to Auburn University in 2018 and became a walk-on in head coach Bruce Pearl’s program.
Cook has paid his dues since joining the Tigers three years ago, and his efforts led to a moment recently that he and his teammates won’t soon forget.
Pearl has awarded Cook with a scholarship, as captured by a video Auburn posted on social media Wednesday. The news comes before the 6-foot-4, 205-pound Cook begins his senior season with the Tigers.
“For the guys who aren’t on scholarship, it’s harder because I’m asking them to make the exact same sacrifices and decisions and commitments. And I treat you guys just as badly as I treat the rest of them, don’t I?” Pearl said in the video. “So it gives me great joy and it gives me great pleasure to be able to tell you that one of your brothers who has paid that price – who has done all the things that you guys strive [for] – is now on scholarship to play basketball at Auburn University.
“[He] grew up loving Auburn, grew up trying to become an Auburn man and is truly a great example of what being an Auburn man is all about. Preston Cook, you are on scholarship!”
Pearl’s announcement led to Cook’s teammates immediately dogpiling him to celebrate the moment.
Cook shared his excitement about the news a short time later on social media.
“Truly Blessed and Grateful! War Eagle,” Cook posted on Twitter.
Cook has played in 19 games during his collegiate career, including nine appearances during the 2020-21 season. He appeared in the final five games for the Tigers during his junior season.
Cook went to his hometown university after being an important part of Auburn High’s success on the court.
Cook averaged 11 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game while also blocking 14 shots and grabbing 20 steals during his senior season in 2017-18. The Tigers reached the Class 7A state championship during Cook’s junior year, which saw him post 10.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game.