You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks


Welcome to

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on

Charles Cooke latest transfer success story for Dayton Flyers

Assistant coach tells tale of how Cooke ended up at UD

Editor’s note: The Dayton Flyers start the season Nov. 11. In the 26 days leading to the opener, the Dayton Daily News will explore different aspects of the program in the A-Z Guide to Dayton Basketball. This is the third installment. C: Charles Cooke.

In the spring of 2014, less than a week after a run to the Elite Eight, Dayton Flyers assistant coach Kevin Kuwik found himself at the NCAA coaches convention in Dallas during the Final Four.

The Flyers had just finished their most successful NCAA tournament in 30 years, and the work didn’t stop. They knew they were losing three key players from that team — Devin Oliver, Vee Sanford and Matt Kavanaugh — and they were about to lose two more players but didn’t know it at the time. Khari Price and Alex Gavrilovic would transfer that spring.

Sanford transferred to Dayton after two seasons at Georgetown and hit one of the most famous shots in UD history that March, a bank shot with seconds to play to beat Ohio State in the first round of the big dance. Another transfer, Jordan Sibert, who played two seasons at Ohio State, led the Flyers in scoring in 2013-14.

“We had such good luck with Vee and with Jordan,” Kuwik said. “We were basically trying to look a year ahead. Hey, Jordan’s going to be graduating a year from now and rather than bringing in a high school kid …. maybe we can get an experienced guy that could sit out for a year and then hopefully step into his type of role. That would be ideal.”

That’s the beginning of the story that led to Charles Cooke coming to Dayton. The 6-foot-5 guard from Trenton, N.J., transferred from James Madison after two seasons, sat out the 2014-15 season and led the Flyers in scoring as a junior last season (15.5 points per game). He’ll be a contender for Atlantic 10 Player of the Year as a senior.

PHOTOS: Best of Charles Cooke

A-Z GUIDE: Archie Miller

A-Z GUIDE: Buzzer beaters

Dayton didn’t recruit Cooke out of high school, Kuwik said, and Cooke almost ended up at St. Joseph’s but the Hawks got a commitment from Isaiah Miles. Cooke went to James Madison instead.

Kuwik first heard Cooke was transferring from a friend. He happened to have another friend, Rob O’Driscoll, who was an assistant coach at James Madison.

“I talked to him about Charles a bunch,” Kuwik said. “Obviously, it was a little bit awkward because they didn’t want Charles to leave. But he gave me some really good insights into Charles and his family and his game and where he was. I still remember walking to the championship game in Dallas with my brothers and talking to (Cooke’s) dad and texting with his dad and Charles. I still have a text from Charles that day about our spot and what a good fit he would be. I just felt we had a good connection.”

Dayton recruited a number of players, such as Wake Forest’s Tyler Kavanaugh, who ended up at George Washington, that spring. Kuwik joked they had a million visits.

“Charles had finished up school and made sure he got the grades he needed to get,” Kuwik said. “He didn’t visit until the end of May or early June. I want to say we talked to him for six or seven weeks before he visited. He was talking to Rhode Island and Duquesne and Michigan State. Some days you felt good and thought, ‘Oh, we’ve got a great chance.’ Some days, you felt you were never going to get him.”

Cooke visited Dayton on June 1. Watching Miller put the Flyers through a team workout opened Cooke’s eyes, Kuwik said. He knew immediately he wanted to play for a team that works as hard as the Flyers do. Kuwik called Cooke a gym rat.

“He came out and had a great visit with his family,” Kuwik said. “He had a great time. He connected with our guys really well. He was going to go to Rhode Island the next weekend and ended up calling Archie in the middle of the week and said, ‘Hey coach I don’t need to see Rhode Island. You guys recruited me the right way, and it’s a great opportunity. I’m excited to come here and be a Flyer.’ He committed and cancelled that visit. Obviously, that was very exciting. He was in summer school like three weeks later.”

Cooke averaged 14.8 points per game as a sophomore at James Madison but struggled from 3-point range, shooting 29.8 percent. Last season, he shot 39.6 percent from long range.

“I still remember back to his visit,” Kuwik said, “and Archie showing Charles video and saying, ‘This is what we’re going to do with you physically development-wise, and this is what we’re going to do with you on the court development-wise.’ Probably the biggest knock on Charles and probably why his recruiting wasn’t as high is his 3-point percentage at James Madison was in the mid-20s, and people said he’s not a shooter. Archie took him through what we do shooting wise, and that’s probably the one thing the Miller family takes more pride in than anything: development but especially shooting.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Sports

Springfield lets double-digit lead slip away vs. No. 1 Moeller
Springfield lets double-digit lead slip away vs. No. 1 Moeller

Springfield nearly knocked off the state’s top Division I team on Saturday night but couldn’t hold on to a double-digit lead. The Wildcats built an 11-point lead in the third quarter only to see Moeller rally and capture a 54-51 win. Moeller went on a 19-8 run in the third and fourth quarters to tie the game and then pulled ahead for good...
H.S. Results for 1/21/17: Dunbar’s McConnell stars in road victory

Dunbar’s Caleb McConnell had a night to remember Saturday during a 73-52 boys basketball victory at Toledo Scott. The 6-foot-5 junior scored 28 points, pulled down 12 rebounds and handed out 7 assists for Dunbar (12-2). McConnell also dropped in five 3-point goals. Devon Baker added 14 points, Chris Jackson 12 for the Wolverines, who led, 25-10...
Hot-handed Trotwood rebounds against Northmont
Hot-handed Trotwood rebounds against Northmont

There’s likely more to it, but junior Myles Belyeu has a condensed explanation for the offensive fireworks that have become the trademark of Trotwood-Madison’s boys basketball season. “If somebody’s hot, give it to him,” he said after providing plenty of go-to spark in a 98-76 demolition of visiting Northmont on Saturday...
Tipp girls hustle past Trotwood-Madison
Tipp girls hustle past Trotwood-Madison

The burst of speed Taylor Prall used to chase down a game-clinching loose ball would have earned her the hustle award most nights. The only thing topping her speedy sprint to help close out Tippecanoe’s 35-32 victory over Trotwood-Madison on Saturday night? A handful of youngsters making a mad dash to the concession stand for free hot dogs and...
Tom Archdeacon: Life goes on for Big Steve’s ‘sister’
Tom Archdeacon: Life goes on for Big Steve’s ‘sister’

Her mom, Shanneca O’Bannon-Layfield, called them: “Two peas in a pod.” JaVonna Layfield agreed: “We were best friends. He was the boy version of me. We literally were the same person, just different genders. He was me with a couple extra inches. Well, more like a whole foot!” After she had put together a double-double...
More Stories