Off the Court: Pelicans guard/forward Charles Cooke

A native of Trenton, N.J., rookie New Orleans two-way contract signee Charles Cooke is venturing into the South for the first time in his basketball career. Cooke’s four-year college hoops career was split between James Madison and Dayton, schools located in Virginia and Ohio, respectively. The wing player sat down recently with Pelicans.com to discuss some of his interests away from basketball:

Best moment as an athlete: “Probably dunking for the first time. I was in eighth grade. My first time dunking in a game, I was a freshman in high school. It was an and-one.”

How he chose his current uniform number of 4: “I used to like No. 1, but 4 seemed to fit me really well for some reason. There is something about it that I always liked. I’ve worn it throughout my whole career, including high school and college.”

Favorite thing about New Orleans: “The food. You can go anywhere and you’ll like it. The seafood is really good, doesn’t matter where you go. What’s funny is you might see a place somewhere that looks crummy from the outside, but then you go in and it’s the best food you’ve ever had.”

Pregame ritual: “I do pretty much the same thing every time. Hot tub, listen to music, stretch, make sure I’m chewing gum.”

Favorite athlete as a kid: “(Seattle Seahawks quarterback) Russell Wilson, because he’s a Christian, and I am also a Christian. I always liked the way he went about the game mentally, how he prepared and his perspective on the game. I really respect who he is off the field, as well.”

What he’d be doing if he weren’t an NBA player: “I’d probably have a program or organization to help inner-city kids, underprivileged kids.”

Closest friends currently playing on other NBA teams: “Malachi Richardson of Sacramento and Davon Reed, who’s now a rookie for Phoenix. Those are my guys. We’re all basically from the same city in New Jersey.”

Favorite type of music: “I listen to a lot of gospel music. Todd Dulaney is my favorite artist.”

Favorite TV shows: “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is first on my list. Martin is second. Of the shows on now, Power is really good.”

Favorite movies of all time: “I love Glory Road, Coach Carter, 8 Mile.”

Favorite phone apps: “Fruit Ninja, also the new Super Mario app. Lately I’m really into this new app called Duolingo, to try to become fluent in Spanish.”

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