One of the best players in the history of the Ohio women’s basketball program will be back for one final ride.
Cece Hooks announced on Tuesday her intentions to return to the Bobcats for a fifth season.
Hooks declared for the 2021 WNBA Draft on April 1, giving her the opportunity to speak with teams. However, she withdrew her name before the deadline, and will return to Ohio.
“My lifelong dream is to play professional basketball one day, but I have been given one of the best opportunities, and that is playing collegiate basketball,” Hooks said in her announcement. “I had so much support when declaring for the 2021 WNBA Draft, but my teammates and I have some business to handle, which is winning a MAC championship. I could not see myself leaving without winning a title with the best teammates any player could have. After deep thought and long conversations with my coach, family and friends, I am announcing that I will be returning for the 2021-22 season.”
Despite already playing four seasons, Hooks had the option for an additional year of eligibility due to the the impact COVID-19 had on prematurely ending the 2019-20 season.
Hooks is only the second player in program history to top 2,000 career points, and figures to make a run at Caroline Mast’s all-time mark.
Mast scored 2,449 points for Ohio from 1982 through 1986 and Hooks will enter next season with 2,197 career points.
“We are very excited to have Cece (Hooks) back in Athens,” head coach Bob Boldon said. “The WNBA draft experience was very valuable for her. She had two very good options and we are thrilled she decided to return to Ohio. She values her relationship with her teammates and has an unbridled desire to win. My staff and I look forward to helping her along the way.”
Hooks turned in a season for the record books in Athens last winter, being named the MAC MVP, as well as the MAC Defensive Player of the Year for the third time. She was also Honorable Mention All-American.
From Thurgood Marshall High School in Dayton, Hooks averaged 25.1 points per game last season, including five games of more than 30 points.
The Bobcats finished the season 15-10, losing to eventual MAC Tournament champion Central Michigan in the semifinals. Ohio played in the WNIT, going 1-2 in the postseason tournament before wrapping up the season on March 22.