April 11, 2012
NORMAN, Okla. -- University of Oklahoma head men's basketball coach Lon Kruger announced Wednesday that Isaiah Cousins, a 6-4, 183-pound guard from Mount Vernon, N.Y., has signed a national letter of intent to play at OU next season.
Cousins, a three-star recruit by Rivals.com and New York's Section 1 "Mr. Basketball," averaged 15.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 3.0 steals per game in leading Mount Vernon High School to a 23-3 record and its second straight New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class AA state championship.
A native of Mount Vernon, Cousins was named MVP of the Section 1 tournament and was an all-tournament selection in New York's state and federation tournaments.
"Most importantly, Isaiah is really passionate about being at the University of Oklahoma," began Kruger, who is starting his second year at OU. "He's a young guy who brings a lot to the floor offensively with his skills. He's a really good teammate in that he makes players around him even more effective. But he's also a good scorer and can shoot the ball well. He has a really good feel for things on the defensive end, too."
Kruger added that Cousins has played multiple positions on the floor.
"He has played a lot at the off (-guard position), he's played a lot at the point. He's a guy who will come in here and make good plays for his teammates. Everyone will enjoy playing with him. He loves to play, he's a good competitor and he has a really high desire to get better and be as good as he can be."
Eighteen-year Mount Vernon High School head coach Bob Cimmino said, "Oklahoma is getting a 6-foot-4 point guard who likes to attack the rim and attack people with his body while doing so. He can also shoot the 3 and can get into the paint kind of at will.
"He's the ultimate gym rat. Isaiah is probably the most improved player I've coached in my tenure at Mount Vernon. He's always had a great work ethic, but something just clicked in the last year, and as a result, his talent just escalated off the charts. He got better and better and became a dominant force in our games.
"He only knows how to play at one particular level and that's hard. Isaiah takes no plays off and he works equally hard on both ends of the court."
Cimmino, who said Cousins chose OU over Dayton, Connecticut, Virginia Tech and Xavier, added that his star guard would have produced much higher statistical averages had his team not been so effective this season.
"We had quite a few blowouts in our league this year and as a result I had to limit Isaiah's minutes on the court," said Cimmino. "You can't tell someone like Isaiah to take it easy -- he doesn't know what that is. He's going to go after you regardless of who you are, and if I would have left him on the court in some of those games he would have scored 40 points very easily. So his minutes were pretty limited unless it was a close game."
Cousins will join fellow high schoolers C.J. Cole, Buddy Hield and Jelon Hornbeak as newcomers at OU in the fall.