Xavier keen to cook with Kings in NBL

Matt Encarnacion

Whether it is pursuing his NBA dream or becoming a business man, Xavier Cooks knows his old man would support him no matter what.

But Cooks showed his dad how cruel the business of basketball could be when he overlooked his dad's NBL team to join fierce rivals Sydney Kings.

Cooks has spent the past few weeks in his hometown of Wollongong with Illawarra Hawks recovering from a knee injury he picked up before the World Cup.

It's where his dad Eric used to play and is currently an assistant coach.

And it's where the Hawks were hoping Xavier would play after he was surprisingly cut from French team SIG Strasbourg last week.

But instead the Boomers prospect chose the bright lights of Sydney, where he re-unites with Australian assistant coach Will Weaver.

"I think the way that Sydney develops players is really good. They help players get to the next level, and they play basketball the right way," Cooks told AAP.

"They want to play defence, everyone's very unselfish. I like working for Will and think Will is a good coach. His basketball brand is unbelievable.

"It's always tough to leave home and leave Wollongong. They'd been so great for me over the years. I'm very grateful for everything that happened down there.

"But I just thought this is the best thing for my career moving forward."

While he considered playing under his dad, where he also would've been a teammate of NBA draft prospect LaMelo Ball, Cooks was thinking big picture.

"Dad's gonna support me no matter what I do. If I play basketball, if I'd be a business man, he's going to be on my side, have my back," Cooks said.

"He's a good dad, so it is what it is.

"Playing with LaMelo would've been cool. I mean, I was training with all them boys down there and it was cool. But this is about the bigger picture."

Cooks showed little effects of his knee injury during his first training run with the Kings on Friday, but isn't expected to suit up against Melbourne United on Sunday.

Instead, Australian audiences will likely get a good look at the 203-centimetre swingman in Sydney's next match against Cairns on Sunday week.

A spicy match-up with Illawarra looms on New Year's Eve.

"Growing up, I played a lot of the guard positions. And then I grew up to six (foot) eight, so I got stuck in the four-man in college," Cooks said.

"So I'm just a very versatile player. I shoot, post-up smaller guards, push it in transition. I'm pretty mobile, pretty athletic, so I just do a little bit of everything."