William Cook loses voice, Missouri loses to Ole Miss

As many fans sat, slouching in their chairs to watch Missouri try to break a six-game losing streak, William Cook stood, leaning on the railing and screaming his lungs off the entire game.
Missouri Tiger guard Terrence Philips (1) goes up for a contended layup in the basketball game in Mizzou Arena on Feb. 3 against the Ole' Miss Rebels.

William Cook lost his voice echoing a former Black Eyed Peas hit song on Wednesday night. Yet, he insists he learned the term “hands up” playing basketball as a “youngin.”

Missouri’s basketball faced off against Ole Miss in front of a crowd of 4,734, the lowest number of the season, but you wouldn’t have noticed that listening to the man sitting front row in the upper deck, section 117, row 28.

The Tigers ran down the court and played offense and every time they’d run back, Cook would scream for the defense to put their hands up.

“Because if you’ve watched our games, the guys are always having their hands down and the other guys are just shooting over them,” Cook said.

After a 9-0 run that was capped off by a triple from freshman point guard Terrence Phillips, you could sense the passion in his voice. Cook, who was attending his first game of the season on Wednesday night, was the most intense fan in the building. His wife said that’s how he is for every Missouri sporting event, but he said he was especially intense Wednesday night.

Gabe DeArmond, the publisher of Powermizzou.com, finally threw his hands up since apparently, from Cook’s angle, the team wasn’t. He and the other Mizzou beat writers were tweeting about “Mr. Hands Up” as well. To that, Cook didn’t care.

“I have no idea (what they’re saying), I don’t tweet, I don’t do nothing,” Cook said. “If they are (talking about me), then they are. I don’t care. I want my team to win, that’s what it’s all about.”

Ron, a fan sitting four rows behind him in a gold Missouri sweater and hat, said he appreciated the passion from Cook. Ron, who did not give his last name, was a freshman at MU when Jon Sunvold and Steven Stipanovich first stepped on campus and he’s watched the games ever since. Usually he comes to Mizzou Arena with his wife, but on Wednesday she came down with a cold.

“I think it’s good to see fans show intensity,” Ron said. “Larry Wyatt, the superfan, is always here and stories on him are good. So, yeah, it’s always fun.”

There’s something impressive about a fan yelling his voice out for a team that’s 8-14, isn’t there?

As many fans sat, slouching in their chairs to watch Missouri try to break a six-game losing streak, Cook stood, leaning on the railing and screaming his lungs off the entire game.

When I talked to him, Missouri had cut the lead to 42-41 and after I left, Ole Miss jumped out again to a lead and Cook, who’s a native of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, continued to yell. He says he’s been a Mizzou fan “since about birth” — which came as no surprise — and that’s what ignited his passion.

With 13.4 seconds left and Missouri leading, 73-72, Phillips was called for a foul on Ole Miss star senior Stefan Moody. In the most critical moment, and the crowd frustrated, you thought Cook’s favorite two words were coming. But no, he said one — an expletive.

Missouri fell, 76-73, and as some fans dogged the refs, Cook put his hands up and clapped.

He clapped because his team played hard and gave him everything but a ‘W.’

Edited by Katherine Knott | kknott@themaneater.com

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