New film documents basketball’s deep roots in Prince George’s County

In addition to playing basketball at Duke, Quinn Cook, who is a native of Maryland’s Prince George’s County, majored in theater and thought the story of where he grew up would make a good film.

Cook is now with the Los Angeles Lakers and wanted to produce a documentary on basketball in Prince George’s County. After all, Cook is one of 25 players since 2000 who has made it to the NBA after getting his start in Prince George’s County. It’s a county in that time span that also has produced more than a dozen WNBA players.

Kevin Durant’s journey also started in Prince George’s County, and he had the same idea of bringing to light the deep roots and legacy of basketball in the place where he grew up. Durant brought Cook on board to his project and with his business manager, Rich Kleiman, and another local NBA player, Victor Oladipo, produced “Basketball County: In the Water.”

Over 18 months in the making, “Basketball County: In The Water” will make its debut Friday on Showtime. Prince George’s County has fewer than 900,000 residents, but the number of basketball players getting selected by top college programs and then advancing to the professional ranks is staggering.

“People are surprised how much talent we have and how much love we have for one another,” Cook said.

“Every guy out of P.G. that’s in Division I or in the league (NBA) or overseas, I have a personal relationship with them. They always gave back. For me, I thought I gotta (SIC) make it, because these guys are giving me the foundation.”



It’s a big basketball world, and yet players who come from Prince George’s County seem to stay connected to their roots. It is that connection that fuels the pipeline and passion for basketball. Each generation of players, both boys and girls, are motivated by the play and success of the previous generation.

“We’re basketball savants in P.G. County,” said Cook. “We love the game of basketball. (There’s) no event to me that makes me happier than going home and going to a high school or AAU game or going to an outside game. It is through basketball that our personalities come out and not just playing it, but even watching it.”

Cook lived basketball in Prince George’s County and he knew the county’s rich history went back a long time. He just didn’t realize how long.

Cook played at DeMatha High School for Hall of Fame coach Morgan Wooten, where Hall of Fame player Adrian Dantley starred at the Hyattsville school in the 1970s.

Through the making of “Basketball County: In The Water,” Cook discovered his county’s relationship with basketball goes back to shortly after the game’s beginning.

Dr. James Naismith invented basketball in 1891 in Springfield, Massachusetts.

“I don’t want to give away the story,” Cook said. “But Naismith taught someone the game and then they came directly here (Prince George’s County) and put it in our neighborhood. I didn’t know the deep, deep history. I mean, it’s not surprising why we love basketball so much. We were one of the first places to learn the game.”

Maybe it is in the water.

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Dave Johnson

Dave Johnson is Senior Sports Director and morning sports anchor. He first arrived at WTOP in 1989, left in 1992 and returned in 1995. He is a three-time winner of the A.I.R. award as best radio sportscaster in D.C. In 2008 he won the Edward R. Murrow award for best writing for sports commentaries.

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