Montrose Christian’s Tyrone Johnson and Oak Hill’s Quinn Cook are both Division I-bound point guards who elected to move away from home for their senior years, and that decision turned out well for each of them.
Johnson (Villanova) moved to the area from Plainfield, New Jersey, while Cook – a Bowie native – headed to tiny Mouth of Wilson, Va. to join Oak Hill’s storied program after three years at DMV powerhouse DeMatha Catholic.
“This whole experience – this whole year – just really got me better as a person and as a player,” Cook said. “Like [Oak Hill] Coach [Steve] Smith says, he wants all his seniors to go into college as sophomores, not freshmen. So, I’ve learned so much, and I was honored to play for a legend.”
They ended up on opposing ends of Saturday’s ESPN Rise National High School Invitational, with Montrose winning 71-64 in double overtime. Cook scored a game-high 25 points, while Johnson led Montrose with 21.
“I still think we had a great season,” Cook said. “I wouldn’t take anything back from this season. I’ve got another family in Mouth of Wilson, Virginia, and we’re going to be brothers for life.”
The decision to leave DeMatha for Oak Hill wasn’t exactly and easy one, though.
“It was hard,” Cook said. “It was the hardest decision of my life, but I had to do what was best for me. [DeMatha] Coach [Mike] Jones, just did so much for me, especially after my father passed away. I mean, he just did the little things, and he’s like a father to me. He gave me his blessing of leaving – we had a talk – and Coach Smith welcomed me in with open arms. I have no regrets with leaving DeMatha, as long as my DeMatha family still appreciates me and accepts me, I’m happy.”
Johnson had similar feelings, and said his time at Montrose was everything he imagined it would be. Johnson said he feels more prepared now to head off to college and hopefully contribute for the Wildcats early.
“One thing I can say about this area, that’s similar to around New Jersey where I came from is the competition level is high,” Johnson said. “Every game – I know me, being out of Plainfield, my school was the best public school in the state of New Jersey and third overall behind St. Anthony’s and St. Pats. As a public school, we always had the bulls-eye on our back. And for me to transition to Montrose, Montrose is on a national level—we’re ranked No. 3 in the country and we just won a national championship – and we always have a target on our back. The completion around here – I know we don’t play some teams like DeMatha and Gonzaga and all the other schools inside that conference, but the competition, like I said, is tremendous.”