March 2, 2008

Cousins Talks About His Recruitment

UAB had just finished off Tulane to run their record on the season to 21-8. ECU had knocked off Houston to put the Blazers one win away from an outright second place finish in CUSA, but Blazer fans and their head coach Mike Davis were a little distracted when the final horn sounded.

Coming down the aisle from the main concourse of Bartow Arena was the biggest commitment in UAB basketball history. Rivals' five star rated junior, 6-9, 245 lb. DeMarcus Cousins, currently the fifth rated prospect in the class of 2009, was approaching Davis.

Cousins hugged Davis and they walked to the back together, a sight Blazers fans are looking forward to seeing regularly in the fall of 2009. Cousins, who was accompanied by his Mother and AAU Coach Danny Prichett, seemed at home with Davis and his future teammates.

Blazer Sports Report caught up with Cousins after the game and spoke to him about his recent commitment to the UAB program, his high school career, and what the '08-'09 season holds for his LeFlore Rattlers.

LeFlore, ranked 12th in the country by USA Today's high school poll fell 63-59 to eventual state 6-A champion Hillcrest High of Tuscaloosa on Thursday.

"After we lost I sat down with Coach (LeFlore Coach Hughley) and my parents and we talked about it and I felt like this was the best decision for me," Cousins said. "Coach Davis was there for me when I was going through some bad times last year. Some coaches backed away and I didn't hear from them. For him (Davis) it's not just about basketball, he cares about me."

Some fans and even some in the media have expressed doubt that Cousins would ever make it to UAB, implying that Davis and Cousins would fly the coup to greener pastures in a larger conference. "I'm sure UAB is going to keep Coach Davis around and I'm planning on being here too," he said.

Cousins was dismissed from his high school team midway through his sophomore season as a disciplinary measure by his former coach. Cousins has encountered a lot of skeptics because of that dispute and has been on the receiving end of numerous questions and assaults on his character on internet message boards - especially from fans of schools that felt spurned when he made his commitment to UAB.

"People are going to have their opinions. I just try and stay away from the negative stuff and stay focused on the positive."

Cousins is on track to be eligible; his high school grades should not pose a problem for entry into college. "I've got to take the ACT and then I'm ready," he said.

When asked about his troubles from last season Cousins was up front about where he is now. "I've matured, I'm in a better situation, and it's easier for me to do the right thing."

While UAB fans can't wait for Cousins to put on the gold and green, Cousins seems to be focused on his senior season at LeFlore and moving beyond the Final Four and winning a state championship.

"We will be better next year than we were this year," he said about his team that is losing its starting point guard, Marquette signee, Nick Williams. "Marlon Ford will be a great point guard. We have a great shooting guard in Gerald Watkins and our big man is 6-9 and just a sophomore. His name is Kencarri Nettles. He will be the best big man in the state next year."

When questioned if Nettles will truly be the best big man in the state next year Cousins grinned and said, "Well maybe the second best big man in the state."

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