Breaking: DeMarcus Cousins Commits to Memphis
The source: SLAM! Who says we don’t do exclusives?
by Aggrey Sam
Top unsigned high school senior big man DeMarcus Cousins has made his decision. While taking an unofficial visit to the University of Memphis this weekend, the Alabama native decided to commit to the Tigers, joining SLAM diarist Xavier Henry, Dallas-area guard Nolan Dennis and juco teammmates big man Will Coleman and wing Darnell Dodson in a strong class of 2009 recruiting class.
“Me and my family came to a decision after talking about it. We just thought it was the best place for me to be,” said Cousins this morning. “Everything about the school, the city, whole visit was impressive. I already liked Memphis, so the visit was just icing on the cake.”
Memphis is still in pursuit of John Wall, the nation’s top senior point guard. With seniors Antonio Anderson and Robert Dozier graduating, along with the possibilities of junior Shawn Taggart and freshman Tyreke Evans leaving early for the NBA, Memphis will need to reload–as they did this season, after the departures of Derrick Rose, Chris Douglas-Roberts and Joey Dorsey–in order to keep their place among the nation’s elite college basketball programs.
“Winning a national championship, that’s my number-one goal [as a freshman next season],” stated Cousins. “Whatever Cal [Memphis head coach John Calipari] needs me to do, I’ll do it. However I have to fit in, I’m willing to do it.”
Expect Cousins, currently ranked second in the SLAM Fresh 50, to have a brief tenure at Memphis, as in one-and-done, if he plays up to his potential. A physical force in the paint, Cousins has a solid back-to-the-basket game, but is also capable of stepping out to hit mid-range jumpers consistently and put the ball on the floor well for a player of his size. In addition, he’s an excellent passer, both in the halfcourt and when making outlet passes to start the fast break, something Memphis excels at. If he commits himself to getting in tip-top shape and decides to dominate both ends of the glass, as well as providing a defensive presence at all times, his upside is as high as any player’s in the senior class.
Since he has all the tools to be an elite baller in the college game (and beyond), a motivator like Calipari and Memphis’ style of play should serve him well.
“He [Cal] just shoots straightforward with you,” said Cousins. “He’s a tough person, but also loves you and that’s what I was looking for.”
The Birmingham big man was once committed to UAB, but when he didn’t sign with the hometown Blazers in the fall, he re-opened his recruitment, despite pressure to stay home for college.
“It’s tough being in Alabama, but it’s gonna be good for me in the end,” commented Cousins. “It’s a new beginning with new people. I get to start all over.”
“I want to thank every coach that ever recruited me,” he continued. “And I want to give a shout-out to my mom and my whole family.”
Kudos to Coach Cal and his staff (nice job, Coach B) on pulling off quite the recruiting coup, albeit one that I personally expected to happen. Now, back to your regularly scheduled Sunday programming.