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    Brian Cook Selected in 2003 NBA Draft
    Brian Cook is headed to the Los Angeles Lakers after being selected 24th overall in the first round of the 2003 NBA Draft.

    Brian Cook is headed to the Los Angeles Lakers after being selected 24th overall in the first round of the 2003 NBA Draft.

    June 26, 2003

    Champaign, Ill. - Illinois' Brian Cook (PF, 6-10, 240, Lincoln, Ill.) was selected in the first round of Thursday night's 2003 NBA Draft when he was chosen by the Los Angeles Lakers with the 24th overall pick. Cook becomes the third Fighting Illini player drafted in the past two seasons, following former teammates Frank Williams (No. 25 pick to New York Knicks) and Robert Archibald (No. 32 pick to Memphis Grizzlies), who were both taken in last year's NBA draft.

    Cook recently wrapped up one of the most distinguished careers in Illinois basketball history. He was named Big Ten Player of the Year and a third-team All-American after averaging 20 points and 7.6 rebounds during his senior season. He was a second-team All-Big Ten pick as a sophomore and junior and was the Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Year in his rookie season. During his UI career, Cook helped lead the Illini to back-to-back Big Ten Championships in 2001 and 2002 and a Big Ten Tournament title in 2003. In his four seasons, Illinois compiled a record of 100-34 (.746), including four straight trips to the NCAA Tournament. Illinois advanced to the Elite Eight during his sophomore season, went to the Sweet 16 during his junior campaign and made Second Round appearances in his freshman and senior seasons. Illinois also went a combined 51-2 (.962) in four years at the Assembly Hall during Cook's tenure, including undefeated home seasons in 2001 (12-0) and 2003 (14-0). Cook ranks among the all-time best at Illinois in a number of career categories, ranking third in school history in scoring (1,748 points), fifth in school history in rebounding (815 boards) and fourth in school history in blocked shots (136 blocks).

    "This is a dream come true for me and for my family, and I feel blessed," Cook said. "I've always dreamed of making it to this level. It's a goal I've been working towards my whole life. I'm looking forward to being a Laker. It will be a great opportunity to learn from two of the best players in the league in Shaq and Kobe and also to learn from the best coach in the NBA, Phil Jackson."

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