Javonte Cooke,

Minnesota Timberwolves summer league includes G-Leaguer from HBCU

Winston-Salem State’s Javonte Cooke turned a standout CIAA Tourney performance into a G-League shot and is on the Minnesota Timberwolves summer league roster.

The Minnesota Timberwolves summer league roster is definitely worth watching for HBCU basketball fans.

The squad will feature two HBCU products, including one that already has a year in the organization under his belt.

Former Winston-Salem State star Javonte Cooke will hit the floor along with former Norfolk State big man Kris Bankston when the Minnesota Timberwolves squad hits the floor on July 7.

Javonte Cooke spent the 2022-2023 season on the Iowa Wolves, the Timberwolves’ G-League squad. He played in 25 games, starting three of them as the Wolves hosted several young rotation players for the NBA squad, which often cut down on his minutes. The 6’6 guard averaged eight points per game in 20 minutes per contest while shooting 42.4 percent from the field and 30 percent from 3-point land.

WSSU guard Javonte Cooke

The Columbia, SC native started his career at USC-Aiken, where he redshirted during the 2017-18 season. He spent the next two seasons at Mars Hill, a D2 school, where he averaged 14 ppg and 5.7 rebounds in two seasons.

Cooke re-emerged with the Rams during the 2021-2022 season and made an immediate impact, as he averaged 17.5 points per game, 3.9 rebounds per game, 1.5 assists per game and 1.8 steals per game while shooting nearly 40 percent from the 3-point line. 

“It was a huge stepping stone in my career,” Cooke said of his season at WSSU. “I felt like it was a path I needed to go down. I faced some adversity, but I had some good times there as well. So I needed that to be in the position that I’m in.”

He saved his best performance for the CIAA Tournament, as he scored a career-high 31 points in the tournament opener. That performance opened a door that eventually led him from the CIAA to the G-League, where he competes against players who starred at Power Five schools.

Cooke’s advice to players in the shoes he was once in is simple — don’t give up. 

“I’d say just don’t count yourself out. The whole world (counts you out). You’re a D2 HBCU basketball player. Coming from the league, they’re not even looking at you. Just don’t count yourself out.” 

Cooke (and Bankston) will looking to make an impact in the next two weeks. The Minnesota Timberwolves squad will be appearing the the main NBA Summer League tournament in Las Vegas from July 7-17. 

Minnesota Timberwolves summer league includes G-Leaguer from HBCU
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