Monday, May 31, 2010

Cook Hall Has IU Basketball Coach Smiling Even More

Does Felisha Legette-Jack EVER have a bad day? How is it that the Indiana women’s basketball coach always seems to have a smile on her face and an inspiration word on her lips?

We can’t explain the past 10 or so years for her, but if you listen to Legette-Jack talk about Cook Hall, you might understand why she’s that way now.

Cook Hall, as you should recall, is IU’s new practice facility full of state-of-the-art stuff designed to boost recruiting, development and the Hoosier way.

Because it’s only been open for a month or so, it’s too early to determine the impact, although IU basketball players are excited to be using it. But their excitement can’t match that expressed by Legette-Jack.

“It’s going to have such a great impact for recruiting down the road,” she said. “For now, for the mental well being of the people working there, it’s unbelievable. We’ve always been in good moods, but it takes your spirits to another level. It just such a privilege to walk into that atmosphere every day. It gets you ready to work and call players to come join us. When recruits come in they are taken away by that.”

Legette-Jack and men’s coach Tom Crean are both coming off losing seasons. Both are hopeful Cook Hall will speed up the rebuilding process.

“Tom and I, we skip to work because it’s such a beautiful place,” she said. “I don’t do it service by telling you. You have to see it for yourself.”

Recruits will see it during camps and AAU events, plus unofficial and official visits.

It won’t guarantee a recruit will sign with IU -– Washington standout Cody Zeller, a 6-10 Hoosier target, has said facilities are important, but are not the No. 1 reason why he will pick a college –- but it will certainly help.

And given the concern some fans have that Zeller has cooled on the Hoosiers –- relax, nothing has been decided and today’s hot team can become tomorrow’s discarded pick. Zeller has said he’ll wait until the fall to announce his college decision, that he will make the best decision for his situation. Yes, older brother Tyler plays for North Carolina, and the Tar Heels are on Cody’s list, but playing with his brother has never been Cody’s focus and likely won’t.

To badly paraphrase Yogi Berra, IU is in the running until it is not in the running and right now it is in the running so don’t sweat the small stuff.

Oh, yes. Cook Hall is really cool.

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