Augusta native Chad Cook is bringing CSRA high school basketball to the masses.
Tuesday night was the first day back for schools after the Christmas break, and there was a full slate of basketball games across the area. Within hours after those games had ended, Cook posted a 32-minute highlight show with former basketball star William Avery featuring video on 19 games, including both Harlem and Lakeside, on his Web site, The Augusta Basketball Report.
Cook, who is the head coach of the homeschool Augusta Eagles boys basketball team and the non-profit Augusta Metro Youth Foundation director, started the operation a year ago. Now he has a stable of shooters, including his Augusta Eagles players, to help cover basketball.
The site and his efforts are receiving acclaim across the Augusta area.
“I think it’s fantastic,” wrote Harlem boys and girls head coach Kim Chambers in an email. “The exposure that this group is providing is incredible... What a resource for college coaches to be able to use at their convenience. I really love what they are doing for our players, our programs and the CSRA community.”
Laney boys head coach Jerry Hunter appreciates Cook’s efforts.
“It most definitely has a positive effect on our program and our community,” Hunter said. “At times we would have to wait for the TV news or the newspaper to get the scores. Now we have immediate access with the punch of a button. It gets these kids the SportsCenter effect.”
Cook, who was a part of the youth programs the foundation supported when he was young, became the Westminster boys career leading scorer (1,900 points), and played for Augusta State before he began coaching teams the foundation supported. He found a coaching Web site that used highlights to tell a story or as part of a lesson, and the idea started taking root.
“I would just spend forever on that site and it made me think I want to do this,” said Cook “This would be a way for me to coach all these people that I can’t coach in person. That was kind of my idea.”
He learned to use a camera and created his Web site at www.Augustaeagles.blogspot.com, but it took a while to get traffic.
“I had this idea, I’ll cover basketball and give information about it, put highlights – more of an entertainment thing to try to get people to look at it – and then I’ll still try to get my point across about whatever I feel is important,” he said.
KJ Kenny, a 2005 Evans alum and former Knights basketball player, is one of Cook’s shooters and has seen that expansion.
“I think that it (ABR) is a great thing for Augusta,” said Kenny. “Each week is like something new that we’re doing, another game we’re covering farther and farther out.”
Cook purchased cameras for the venture and the expenses, including renting space at Studio South on Columbia Road, come from his own pocket.
“People are passionate about watching the games and being updated about the games and learning about the players and all that,” Cook said. “I’d like to believe in some kind of way someday we get people as passionate about joining the efforts we pursue when it comes to education and mentoring, to the point where there would be contributions and donations and volunteering where we could do this on a bigger scale.”