A gifted post player, Sidney Cooks looked forward to building her basketball skills and enjoying fierce competition as a student-athlete, but it took her a while to find the right fit. After playing at two high profile institutions—Michigan State and Mississippi State—Cooks decided to use her final two years of eligibility at Seton Hall University, where she not only found an environment that suited her, but also an unlikely perfect teammate, guard Lauren Park-Lane. They are the Pirates’ top scorers.
“To be able to stay in Division I basketball and come to a program that accepts me and lets me mature and be the best version of myself, obviously on the court and then off the court as well, it’s made my life much happier,” said Cooks, who will complete her master’s degree in public administration this spring. She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science at Mississippi State.
Cooks hopes to play professionally, but after basketball is done she thinks she may pursue law school. Seton Hall has a distinguished one, which caught her attention when she was deciding to play there.
She and Park-Lane are team captains, and Cooks feels comfortable in a leadership role. “They’ve given me this confidence and the ability to do what I knew I was capable of,” Cooks said. At Mississippi State, she played small forward. As the tallest person on the Seton Hall team, she plays center. She can still shoot the three when called upon, but also post up. “The versatility that I bring in the system that we have, it’s been a perfect match,” she said.
From the beginning, Cooks and Park-Lane shocked each other. Cooks never previously played with a guard that small who possesses the ability to read the defense and get to the basket at will, and Park-Lane hadn’t played with a big who could shoot the three. “When we balanced that out, it became so much fun,” said Cooks. “We trust each other on another level. We know what each other is capable of and are comfortable holding each other accountable. Our leadership has trickled down to our teammates so they can feed off of our energy.”
They think about playing together overseas, but right now the focus is on finishing this collegiate season with a flourish. “Right now, our slogan is ‘win every day’” Cooks said. “It’s one day at a time.”