Northampton's Dylan Cook admittedly has had his share of troubling and frustrating times with the basketball program this winter.
The junior swingman has experienced his share of highs and lows of the team's overall 2-10 mark entering this season. Cook, however, has understood the situation with a new coach and system being implemented in the process.
Yet, when he does have his moments, Cook can take solace spending some time with his younger sister, 3-year-old Samantha, to gain a different perspective in his world. It has been an adjustment that has had other implications in his life, one that has been gratifying in other ways.
"I like to spend time with her," Cook stated. "When I'm with her, we can talk about other things in life that aren't as stressful. It's a good escape and I treasure every moment with her. She always makes me feel good and is very special to me."
Cook also related how he has been active through the years with Special Olympics programs mainly due to the involvement with his mother Sarah, who works with children dealing with autism and special needs.
He also has another sister, 13-year-old Anastasia, who has special needs of her own and has been an active participant in Special Olympics.
"We have been active (with Special Olympics) as a family," Cook said. "(Samantha) is also very special in my life and we have been active in programs. Being able to help others has been very rewarding."
His coach realizes Cook has been special on and off the court.
"Dylan (Cook) gives his time so others can have a better life," said head coach Coy Stampone. "I'm proud of his efforts inside and outside the program. All of our players look to get involved in programs when they can.
"(Cook) is a player who doesn't always get all the headlines, but he is a big part of the program."
Cook is one of a handful of players who joined the team late due to the football season. He knows this year's transition might take a little longer due to the nature of the program.
"We're getting in basketball shape," Cook said of him and his gridiron teammates. "It has been tough from the beginning for us and we have worked through it. It has been frustrating at times, but we realize we are going to get better. It is just a matter of time."
Cook has been living proof of his testimony as he only began playing organized basketball in sixth grade. Despite his team's record, Cook likes his teams' chances to make a run and reverse their fate from the first half.
He recalled how his best memory in the program was when last year's squad upset Central Catholic.
"We just have to be consistent," said Cook, who has been among the team's leading scorers all season. "We have played really well with teams, but we need to play all four quarters. We have to put it all together. If we can shoot the ball better and continue to play good defense, we can turn things around. It is just a matter of believing in ourselves."
Judging by his lifestyle, Cook has plenty of belief in himself and others.