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Xavier Cooks: Winthrop Basketball

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Name: Xavier Cooks

Major: Sports Management 

Classification: Junior 

Hometown: Wollongong, New South Wales 

Do you have any hidden talents?

Nothing crazy but I can surf. I don’t enjoy it necessarily, I am kind of afraid of sharks to be honest with you. Wollongong is like a little beach town so everyone in Wollongong can surf. 

What’s your favorite Snapchat filter?

I dont know if I use filters like that but I love the ugly ones. I love the one that zooms in really close. 

What brought you here to Winthrop?

The family environment. I knew I was going to be so far from home and I needed a family and I knew Coach Kelsey could provide that. 

Photo from Xavier Cooks

What is your favorite thing about Winthrop?

Probably my friends. I feel like I have made a really good circle of friends over here and I feel like they really care about me. 

What do you miss the most about Australia?

My family probably and my city. I miss being able to go around my city and seeing people I actually know. I dont really know people over here except for basketball. 

Is there anything about America that surprised you?

A lot of things surprised me, especially being in the South. I think everyone is crazy friendly over here. Everyone is like hi and I’m not sure if I know them or not but I’ll still say hi back. 

What is the biggest difference between Australia and America?

Um…I really don’t know. I had such different roles. In Australia I lived with my parents like a little kid. And then I was thrown into the deep end. I’m by myself over here. The biggest change for me was that I had to grow up. 

If you didn’t play basketball, what sport would you want to play?

I played a little bit of everything. I was just too big. I tried playing soccer but I was too big and uncoordinated and my legs were too long…I was horrible at that. I tried rubgy for a while but I was much too skinny for that. I was getting beat up everyday, so I said I’m good on that. I kind of wish I grew up in America and could’ve played American football. I love how they get idolized so much over here. It’s unreal. I can’t even imagine living their life and going to the shopping mall and being recognized by everyone.

Photo from Xavier Cooks

Do you have any pregame rituals?

I just shoot. I have to shoot a lot of shots before every game. I dont know why but I get really nervous. To get out of the nerves I’ve just got to shoot the ball a whole lot. I have to act like I’ve done it before. I really have done it before but when people are watching I just don’t like it. I’m not much of an attention kind of guy.  I love it but I hate it. But I’ve been doing it for so many years, it’s still just basketball. 

Where do you see yourself after graduation?

I would love to play overseas. I want to try and play in Australia or Europe, somewhere nice for a free holiday.     

What is your biggest dream?

I would love to go to the Olympics. That is my biggest dream ever. I love watching the Olympics, I love everything about it. I was actually really lucky. I went to the University Olympics. Each country, out of everyone in the universities, make a team up and you play for your country. I went to Korea for that. We lived in an olympic village and played against Serbia and other countries. It was really cool. I ended up going to a basketball academy, it’s called the Australian Institute of Sports. All of the Olympians lived in this one village. It is kind of like a junior program too and I was in the junior program. We got to live with the olympians and see how they live. It was so cool to me. 

Photo from Xavier Cooks

“We practice every day, we play basketball all of the time. The one thing that really seperates games from practice is the people there. When the students are there and they’re loud, I love it. That’s why I play basketball, for those moments.” –Xavier Cooks

Now that you know a little bit about Xavier, be sure to support him and the rest of Winthrop basketball at the home games this season!

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