For years, Daequan Cook dreamed of this moment. Thursday night, the dreaming was no longer necessary.
The 6-5 Ohio State freshman guard was drafted No. 21 by Philadelphia in the 2007 NBA Draft and subsequently traded to the Miami Heat in an exchange of picks.
"Today is my day," said a jubilant Cook by phone Thursday evening. "Today my life starts over."
Cook, who averaged 9.8 points and 4.3 rebounds this past season for the Buckeyes, was the subject of much criticism for his decision to depart Ohio State after just one season.
For much of the second half of the season, while the Buckeyes were making a Big Ten Championship run and trip to the National Championship game, Cook struggled with his shot after coining the name, "instant offense," earlier in the season.
However, Cook declared for the draft with fellow freshmen Greg Oden and Mike Conley and held his own during workouts to grab a first round slot.
"I told everyone - we shocked the world," said Dayton Dunbar assistant Al Powell, who has mentored Cook since he was a freshman. "Nobody believed."
According to Powell, San Antonio attempted to grab Cook as high as the No. 16-pick. However, the Spurs were unable to work out a suitable deal with Washington to grab Cook that early.
Cook said his decision is no more justified because of his first round status.
"A lot of people in Ohio had a lot of faith in me," he said. "Everyone including Coach (Thad) Matta believed in me.
"It was a great outcome," Cook added of going to the Heat.
Cook will depart his home in Dayton tomorrow for a press conference in Miami.
The speculation has finally come to an end for Cook, who has been one of the state's top prospects since he was a freshman at Dunbar High School.
"I'm just putting the work in now. That's the biggest thing," he concluded. "Tomorrow is a new day...I've got a bullet on my back now and everyone is gunning for me."
It was also a sigh of relief for Powell, who has long stood by Cook.
"Everybody's excited," he reiterated. "He (Cook) is happy to be there in Miami. It's a good fit."