Javonte Cooke

Timberwolves find late summer league spark in HBCU alum

Former Winston-Salem State guard Javonte Cooke was a bright spot for the Timberwolves late in summer league play.

Photo Courtesy: Javonte Cooke

It took a couple of games, but Javonte Cooke found his groove with the Minnesota Timberwolves in NBA Summer League Competition.

The former Winston-Salem State forward finished up Summer League action with back-to-back double-figure scoring games in Las Vegas.

Cooke saved his best game for last, scoring a team-high 16 points on 7-for-9 shooting as the Timberwolves squad fell 109-92 to the Charlotte Hornets. Cooke hit two of his four 3-point attempts in the loss and came up withe a thunderous putback dunk.

That performance came on the heels of another solid night on Thursday against the Sacramento Kings. Cooke scored 12 points and grabbed five rebounds in the Timberwolves’ 93-80 loss. 

The solid performances were needed for Cooke after he got off to a slow start in the first three summer league games, scoring just four points combined. 

Norfolk State big man Kris Bankston had three points and three rebounds in seven minutes in the opener against the New Orleans Pelicans, but struggled to find playing time or contribute in the remainder of the contests. 

Javonte Cooke
WSSU guard Javonte Cooke shoots at 2022 Carolinas HBCU All-Star Game. (HBCU Gameday/Steven J. Gaither photo)

Cooke is no stranger to the Wolves’ organization as he spent last season playing with the Iowa Wolves, the franchise’s NBA G-League team. 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.

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 Winston-Salem State 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. 

Timberwolves find late summer league spark in HBCU alum
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