Ohio guard and Mid-American Conference Player of the Year Cece Hooks opted out of the 2021 WNBA Draft ahead of Saturday’s deadline and will return to Ohio for her fifth and final season.
Hooks, a senior, is allowed a fifth year of eligibility due to the fact that last season didn’t count against any NCAA athlete because of COVID-19. Hooks will be a frontrunner to repeat as the MAC POTY.
Ohio is thrilled to have its leader and best player back on the court. Last season, the Bobcats struggled with injuries to star guard Erica Johnson and Peyton Guice. In their absence, Hooks played her best basketball, averaging 25.1 points (third-best in the nation), 6.6 rebounds, four assists and 3.8 steals per game.
With Hooks returning and the team focusing on its health, the Bobcats will be back in the mix for a MAC Championship. Ohio finished the season 15-10 after falling in the WNIT Consolation Finale to Massachusetts.
Hooks’ 18-point performance in the loss against the Minutewomen was not the way she wanted to end her collegiate career. Despite all the accolades that Hooks has achieved during her time at Ohio, including setting the school’s all-time steals record (410), her favorite accomplishment has always been winning. In her final year she will be determined to get Ohio to the NCAA Tournament.
Hooks’ legacy is already secured at Ohio and her jersey will most likely hang from the rafters of The Convo one day. Hooks’ is a three-time MAC Defensive POTY, and the POTY award she won this season was Ohio’s first since Caroline Mast in 1986.
Next season, Hooks will look to surpass Mast as the program’s all-time leading scorer. Mast finished her career with 2,449 points. Hooks is in second behind her by only 252 points. Barring injury, Hooks could perform well below her career average of 18.3 ppg and break the record.