Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Dominic Cheek- Best in New Jersey?

St. Anthony's (NJ) always seems to be reeling out top-notch talent, and this year was no different, as you need two hands to count the so-to-be DI players from this year's class of Friars. Next year's superstar may well be better than all of them, though. Dominic Cheek, a 6'6 junior guard, is one of the most sought after juniors in America. Although he may be a bit too slim for college ball right now--adding 15 or 20 pounds would be a big help for him at the next level--there is no denying that Dom Cheek is one of the best players in the class of 2009, and he still has over a year to put on the necessary weight. I spoke with Cheek at the Playaz Spring Fling.

NB: What AAU team are you playing for?
DC: The Playaz Basketball Club.

NB: Are you playing today, or are you just here watching?
DC: We [are] supposed to play at four o’clock, but the [other] team’s not going to show up, so we [are] going to play at eight o’clock [in a] playoff [game].

NB: With the season [the team] had this year at St. Anthony’s, what was the best part about it? Was it going undefeated, was it winning the Tournament of Champions, beating St. Patrick’s, what was the best part?
DC: The best part about it was winning every game and winning a national championship.

NB: What did it mean [to the team] . . . to be the national champion?
DC: Well, it means a lot because we had a lot of seniors on the team, [and] we didn’t want them to go out with a loss, we wanted them to go out with a ‘chip under their belt.

NB: How [is the team] . . . going to replace all those guys [that are] graduating, like Alberto [Eastwick], and Traven [Woodall], and Michael [Rosario]?
DC: Well no, we had a couple of juniors [and] sophomores on the team, and we got . . . two new players from New York coming in, so we [are] good.

NB: What players?
DC: We have Devon [Collier] from New York, and this dude named Ashton Pankey coming in, and Jamee Jackson [who was on the team this year].

NB: With your recruitment, . . . what colleges are you currently considering that are at the top of your list?
DC: I don’t really have [a] top school now, but I have a lot of colleges coming after me right now.

NB: What are some of the schools?
DC: Villanova, Texas, Wake Forest, Seton Hall, Rutgers, Florida, Marquette, Kansas, it’s just . . . a lot of colleges.

NB: What are you looking for in a school?
DC: Great academics and a great coach that can get me to the next level.

NB: Is there a school that growing up you’ve always wanted to play for, that you always dreamed of playing for?
DC: Oh yeah, it was North Carolina, [that was] my school really, [while] growing up.

NB: Have they been looking at you?
DC: Oh yeah, yeah, they offered me a scholarship.

NB: Who do you actually currently hold an offer from?
DC: Every school that I just named.

NB: For next year, what do you think you need to do to help St. Anthony’s, other than obviously play your game? What do you need to do [along the lines of] . . . picking up a leadership role and things of that nature?
DC: Yeah, yeah, I have to be a leader, get everybody to work hard, and work hard in practice and everything.

NB: How has it helped you to see so many guys on your team go through the recruiting process before you? With all the seniors [on the team] this year, what has it done for you to be able to understand the process better?
DC: Oh, it helped me a lot because I learned from them and they [were] helping me out with the recruitment and everything.

NB: What has it been like for you to see [your high school teammate] Tyshawn Taylor going through what he’s going through right now [with the coaching change] at Marquette? . . . Are you going to wait for a while to make your decision [because something like that could happen]? . . . How is that impacting you?
DC: Oh yeah, that helped me out a lot because you got to get to know your coach and everything and I don’t think it [works as well] to commit at . . . [an] early age because you see what happened to Tyshawn, . . . so I’m just going to wait it out now.

NB: What do you have more fun playing, AAU or high school [basketball]?
DC: That’s a tough one right there. I don’t know about that one right there.

NB: If you had to pick a school to sign with right now, who would it be?
DC: I don’t even know, . . . I don’t know about that one right now.

Cheek might be the best player in the Garden State, though he will have to earn that title over the summer and during his senior year, as St. Patrick's (NJ) 6'3 guard Dexter Strickland, a North Carolina-commit, is hot on his trail. Cheek, though, is without a doubt one of the best players in the US, regardless of whether or not he is tops in New Jersey or how many pounds he needs to put on. Next season, Dominic will have the opportunity to cement his spot near the top of the class rankings and keep hold of his label as the premiere player in the state. The St. Anthony's star may well have been the best guard regardless of class in Jersey this year, though his teammate, McDonald's All-American Mike Rosario might have something to say about that. In 2008-2009, Dominic will have the opportunity to be the unquestioned star of the Friars' team, and it will be interesting to see how he handles that role. Put Cheek wherever you want to in the rankings, because no matter where he is, he is one heck of a basketball player.

Note- photo is fomr http://scouthoops.scout.com/

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