Lenny Cooke Documentary Chronicles the Rise and Fall of a High School Basketball Phenom
Back in 2001, what many considered to be the best high school basketball player in the country wasn’t Ohio’s Mr. Basketball and St. Vincent-St. Mary sophomore LeBron James; it wasn’t Cypress Creek’s freakishly athletic junior Amar’e Stoudemire; and it wasn’t a pre-Oak Hill academy, Baltimore-based Carmelo Anthony – it was Brooklyn phenom Lenny Cooke. A high school-aged man-child, Cooke wowed scouts with his combination of speed and strength – not to mention his 6’6″, 206 lb frame. Following a vagabond high school career that saw him average stat lines of 30 points and 15 rebounds at a variety of high schools – a move that ultimately saw him accidentally exhaust his eligibility prior to his “senior” season – while also racking up awards at various summer leagues and showcases, Cooke appeared to have the world at his fingertips as he held scholarship offers from the likes of North Carolina, Seton Hall, St. John’s, Miami and Ohio State. Instead, Cooke decided to enter the 2002 NBA Draft, where he was ultimately passed over – for a variety of non-basketball reasons – by all 29 teams. Now, more than a decade later, Cooke has yet to play a minute in the NBA while his former peers rack up awards and championships. Premiering this upcoming weekend at the Tribeca Film Festival, a brand new documentary takes a look at the rise and ultimate fall of one of the most promising young basketball players this country has ever seen. Enjoy the trailer above and stay tuned for info regarding a wider release for the Josh and Benny Safdie-directed film.