Zia Cooke was already one of the most accomplished high school players in basketball well before she became an overnight sensation. Cooke, a 5’9 guard out of Toledo, is ranked as the No. 7 prospect and No. 2 guard in the country. She won a gold medal with USA Basketball this summer. She committed to Dawn Staley’s powerhouse South Carolina program a month ago.
Cooke led Rogers High School to a state championship as a junior. Now in the middle of her senior season, Cooke put up 43 points in a game on Friday against previously undefeated East Kentwood out of Michigan. You need to watch these highlights right now.
Scoring 43 points is impressive, but that’s not the reason everyone was talking about Cooke this weekend. It’s about how she did it: nasty crossovers, step-back jumpers, no-look passes, and ... an in-game jelly???
Best of all, Cooke just looked like she was having so much fun doing it. From dancing on the bench to the exuberance she showed after her best moves, this entire performance was one big flex.
People took notice. A lot of them. Some of them very famous.
Chance the Rapper tweeted about Cooke.
A Twitter video by user Ment Nelson is the one that has gone viral, now with 3.7 million views and 32K retweets. Chance the Rapper is to thank for that.
Chance, with his nearly 8 million followers, tweeted about the video on Saturday morning, and that’s when it started to blow up.
Dwyane Wade, C.J. McCollum, Jason Terry, and others followed
Perhaps inspired by the social media love from his fellow Chicagoan Chance, Miami Heat star and future Hall of Fame inductee Dwyane Wade also tweeted about Cooke.
Portland Trail Blazers star C.J. McCollumn, who also hails from Ohio, gave Cooke some love as well:
Retired NBA player Jason Terry, who runs a girls’ basketball program on Nike’s EYBL grassroots circuit, added to the chorus:
Add in a bunch of other prominent social media users talking about Cooke, and now you have the makings of a viral sensation. She couldn’t miss out on it herself.
She created a Twitter account because she was getting so much attention
Finally made a Twitter I need some followers ♀️..— Zia Cooke (@zia_cooke) December 16, 2018
All the fame is great but I’ll never change who i am, I’m going to remain the same and keep being humble. I appreciate the love tho fr— Zia Cooke (@zia_cooke) December 17, 2018
Oh yeah, Cooke also won MVP of the tournament
File this one under “no duh.”
Zia Cooke dropped 43 tonight & was named tournament MVP at the Best of Michigan. Rogers beat previously unbeaten East Kentwood 80-73. pic.twitter.com/fBTY9JfaCQ— Jordan Strack (@JordanStrack) December 16, 2018
Who is Zia Cooke?
This interview with USA Basketball provides some great background. She has one older brother, who played football at the junior college level. Her favorite class is math and she’s on her school’s honor roll. Her favorite player is Russell Westbrook.
She has an Instagram account you can follow, too.
She asked for more followers, and she got them
The future of South Carolina women’s basketball looks bright
In addition to Cooke, Staley’s class at South Carolina also includes Brea Beal, who ranks No. 13 in the class, and Laeticia Amihere, who ranks No. 10 in her class.
Cooke is already a budding star. We can’t wait to follow her career from here.