Mississippi State wrapped up its regular season this past weekend finishing up at 9-7 in league play and 17-13 overall.
With several critical losses during the year it is highly likely that the Bulldogs only route to the NCAA Tournament will be by winning the Southeastern Conference Tournament...[details]
2010 (Senior):HEADER DeMARCUS COUSINS Power Forward/Center University of Kentucky Wildcats #15 6:09.5-292 Mobile, Alabama LeFlore High School
OVERVIEW One of the most gifted big men in the 2010 NBA Draft, Cousins was part of a young core of talent that saw the Wildcats compile a 35-3 record in 2009-10. Only the UK 1947-48 squad (36-3 record) produced more victories in a season at Kentucky.
With his ability to crash the boards and dominate under the basket, the first-year player registered 21 double-doubles (points-rebounds) in the 37 games he started (played in 38), while establishing a new school freshman record (Chris Mills had 11 double-doubles in 1988-89). His 21 double-doubles tied for fifth in the nation last season.
The powerful center's versatility has teams looking for a strong presence in the pivot regarding the freshman as the best center prospect in the talent pool, but several other organizations like the New Jersey Nets and Minnesota Timberwolves feel that he can be a dominant power forward.
With his huge wingspan and ability to dominate working inside, Cousins led the team in rebounding 25 times as a freshman. His 376 rebounds set the school season-record for freshmen. He also paced the Wildcats in scoring 14 times, as he surprised his opponents with his soft hands, great footwork and legitimate perimeter shot, as he made 55.8% of his attempts in 2009-10.
Cousins proved that he could not only establish presence in the paint, but was also very effective on the offensive glass, where he was able to score 53 times (made 206 field goals) by utilizing his resounding dunking skills. He also proved to be a very capable inside scorer, as he totaled double figures in 31 of his contests.
Cousins finished second on the team with a 15.1-point scoring average and his 67 blocked shots rank third on the school season-record list for first-year players.
"DeMarcus is one of the most talented big men I've ever had," UK head coach John Calipari said. "He has tremendous ball-handling skills for a player his size. His combination of size and shooting ability should make him tough to defend. He has a mean streak on the court that gives him an edge."
At LeFlore High School, Cousins was rated the second-best recruit in the country and the top power forward by Rivals.com. He earned Parade and McDonald's All-American honors in 2009 and finished the McDonald's All-American Game with 14 points and eight rebounds in 17 minutes of play. A member of the 2009 USA Junior National Select Team, he also participated in the Jordan Classic All-Star Game (10 points) and Nike Hoop Summit.
Cousins averaged 24.1 points, 13.2 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 3.2 blocks and 5.1 steals per game his senior season. He helped lead LeFlore to state semifinal appearances in 2008 and 2009, including making the Alabama Class 5A Final Four, but fell short to future Kentucky teammate Eric Bledsoe and Parker High School.
Cousins first committed to Alabama-Birmingham on Feb. 28, 2008 but never signed a letter of intent because he wanted to be released if UAB's head coach, Mike Davis, left for another school. When the school refused to comply with this condition, he de-committed from UAB and committed to Memphis on March 9, 2009. He reopened his recruitment after then Memphis coach John Calipari was hired at Kentucky. On April 7, 2009, Cousins decided to follow Calipari to Kentucky. He signed his Letter of Intent on April 15, helping lead the Wildcats to the Elite Eight of the 2010 NCAA Tournament.
On April 7, 2010, Cousins announced that he would forgo his final three seasons of collegiate eligibility and enter the 2010 NBA Draft, where he is expected to be a high lottery selection.
GAME ANALYSIS Led UK with 16 points and four steals vs. Cornell in the NCAA Sweet 16...Posted a 19-point, 8-rebound effort vs. Wake Forest in the NCAA Second Round, shooting 9-of-10 from the field...Hit the game-tying shot vs. Mississippi State in the SEC Championship game to force overtime...Posted a 19-point, 15-rebound effort vs. Tennessee at the SEC Tournament...Blocked a career-high six shots at Georgia...Added a double-double with 15 points and 14 rebounds at Tennessee...Had another double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds vs. South Carolina...Named SEC Freshman of the Week after totaling 19 points at Vanderbilt and 19 points and 14 rebounds at Mississippi State...Totaled 16 points and 13 rebounds vs. Alabama...Named SEC Freshman of the Week after scoring 19 points and 14 rebounds at LSU and posting 18 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks vs. Ole Miss...Posted 21 points and 10 rebounds vs. Vanderbilt...Tied a career high with 27 points to go along with 12 boards and three blocks at South Carolina...Added 16 points and a team-leading 14 rebounds vs. Arkansas and had 16 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks and three assists at Auburn in a career-high 30 minutes...Scored 16 points and a career-high three steals vs. Georgia in the SEC opener...Earned SEC POW honors after averaging 18.5 points and 15.0 rebounds vs. Louisville and Hartford...Tied a career high with 18 rebounds to go with 18 points vs. Louisville. The 18 boards also tied a UK/U of L series record for rebounds...Had 19 points and 12 rebounds vs. Hartford...Was named SEC Freshman of the Week after totaling 15 points and 10 rebounds vs. Long Beach State and leading UK with 18 points and 13 rebounds vs. Drexel...Posted a 19-point, 8-rebound effort vs. Austin Peay...Scored a team-leading 24 points with 10 boards vs. UNC Asheville...Named to the Cancun Challenge All-Tournament Team as he totaled 18 points and five blocks vs. Rider and led the Wild-cats with a 27-point, 18-rebound effort vs. Sam Houston State for his second straight double-double.
2009-10 SEASON Joined John Wall as the only freshmen to be named to the East Regional All-Tournament team...Earned Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year recognition from the league's media...Played in 38 games, starting all but the final regular-season contest vs. Florida...Set the school freshman season-records with 376 rebounds (9.9 rpg) and 21 double-doubles (led the conference)...His team-best 67 blocked shots were the third-highest season total by a UK freshman...Scored 575 points on 206-of-369 field goals (55.8%, ranked 19th in the NCAA), the second-highest season total by a Wildcat first-year player...Made 162-of-268 free throws (60.4%), the second-best annual total by a UK freshman...Disqualified twice, as he led the team with 122 personal fouls and had 78 turnovers...Handed out 38 assists and added 37 steals, third-best on the squad.
CAREER NOTES Holds the school season-record for freshmen with 376 rebounds, topping the previous mark of 277 by Chris Mills (1988-89)...His 21 double-doubles shattered the old UK annual freshman mark of 11 by Mills...Led the team with 67 blocked shots in 2009-10, ranking third on the Wildcats' freshman season-record chart behind Jamaal Magloire (79 in 1996-97) and Sam Bowie (73 in 1979-80)...Made 162 free throws as a freshman, ranking behind John Wall (175 in 2009-10) on the school freshman season-record list...His 575 points scored were topped only by Wall's 616 on the UK season-record chart for first-year players.
HIGH SCHOOL Attended LeFlore (Mobile, Ala.) High School, where he was rated the second-best recruit in the country and the top power forward by Rivals.com...Earned Parade and McDonald's All-American honors in 2009 and finished the McDonald's All-American Game with 14 points and eight rebounds in 17 minutes of play...Member of the 2009 USA Junior National Select Team, he also participated in the Jordan Classic All-Star Game (10 points) and Nike Hoop Summit...Averaged 24.1 points, 13.2 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 3.2 blocks and 5.1 steals per game his senior season...Helped lead LeFlore to state semifinal appearances in 2008 and 2009, including making the Alabama Class 5A Final Four, but fell short to future Kentucky teammate Eric Bledsoe and Parker High School.
PERSONAL General Studies major...Son of Monique Cousins...Born 8/13/90...Resides in Mobile, Ala.
SCOUTING REPORT Positives: Cousins is a powerful athlete who needs to cut down on his body fat (16.4%), but has that huge wingspan (7'5 3/4") and reach (9'5", tied for best of all the players at the 2010 Chicago pre-draft camp) to be a dominant force as a rebounder (set the UK freshman record with 376 boards, including 156 from the offensive glass)...Knows how to use his size, reach and strength to establish himself under the basket, as he had 53 put-backs from those 156 offensive boards)...Uses his size well to draw contact on the way to the rim and has the large, soft hands to make him a viable scoring option on the pick-and-roll...Has developed an effective mid-range jumper and shows valid scoring instincts slashing to the basket (shot 55.8% from the field, which ranked 19th in the nation)...Gets to the charity stripe regularly (made 162-of-268 free throws, 60.4%)...Uses those soft hands well to put the ball on the floor for a dribble or two and shows the ability to create his own shot... Despite his size, he moves effortlessly up and down the court (but there are some stamina issues and he needs to work on developing a better nutritional program)...Equally effective scoring with his back to the basket or when facing it (second on the team with 206 field goals made, despite logging the fourth-best minutes on the court)...Outstanding defensive presence, as he not only generated 220 defensive boards, but also registered 37 steals...His large wingspan helped him in the post, where he set the UK frosh record with 67 blocks...Very assertive when challenging in one-on-one confrontations and uses his size with great efficiency to not only finish around the basket, but also to crash the boards (led the team in rebounds 25 times and had at least 10 boards in 21-of-37 starts)...Great space occupier under the basket whose lower-body strength makes it very difficult for opponents to get him out of the paint...Physical defender who can block shots, rebound and shows good passing ability for a player his size, especially from the low post (handed out 38 assists in 2009-10)...Alert to the open teammate, doing a nice job of dishing the ball out from the post when double-teamed and consistently finds a man to drive the ball to the basket for the score...Has enough short-area range to set picks and knows how to beat double-team action by feeding off a well-timed backdoor pass into the hands of his guards for a basket...Can generate nice passes over the top of his head to slashing teammates... Has good range on his jump shot and shows good court vision and decision making, as it is rare to see him bite on pump fakes...Has the power to make his presence felt under the rim...Uses his body well to push the opponent out of the paint and knows how to use his reach and elevation to get over his man and secure the offensive board... Will generally score once he gets the ball under the basket...Has a good eye and soft touch from the free throw line and shows natural hands and extension to secure the high pass...Draws a lot of fouls due to his size going for entry passes, making his free throw ability a definite asset... Has worked hard in developing a deadly jump shot and using it as a go-to move when operating in the post...Will not over-extend himself to block the shots, playing solid positional defense...Effective blocking shots from the weak-side and has the physical ability to alter quite a few shot attempts in the lane...Has shown steady improvement in creating his own shot off the dribble from the perimeter and has a fluid spin move when arriving in the paint for a layup...Has the long reach to grab rebounds flat-footed under the rim...Uses his hands well to secure loose balls and times his leaps well to get a fair share of blocked shots...Shows a good drop step on the block and his size allows him to bat down shots without even jumping, at times.
Negatives: Until he can improve his overall stamina, Cousins is better served playing in a half-court game, as he is prone to running out of gas in the second half of contests...Has an aggressive nature, but is a bit too emotional at times (has had several on-court confrontations with the coaching staff) and this will result in reckless play, leading to a high amount of needless fouls (led the team with 122 personals)...Has soft hands as a scorer, but needs to make better decisions with the ball (will look for open targets at times), as he will try to get too cute creating his own shot, taking too many questionable shots in a crowd (78 turnovers)...Because of some stamina issues, he will appear sluggish getting back to establish defensive presence...Has the long reach to alter shots, but is not a student of the game and can be fooled by hesitation moves or commit too early to the jump ball, seeing more than a few slashers pull the ball down and get by him...Needs to mature on and off the court (was highly defensive of some character issue questions at the Chicago pre-camp that could lead to some teams red-flagging him due to his lack of focus)...Moody player who has to show better work ethic and keep his head in the game (can defend, but shows a bit of indifference there, as his emotions tend to get the best of him).
Compares To: DERRICK COLEMAN, ex-New Jersey Nets -- Like Coleman, Cousins possesses nimble feet along with excellent footwork and soft hands. He has that huge wingspan to dominate on the boards and shows a decent jump shot that will force big men to come out of the paint to defend him along the perimeter. However, his emotions will tend to get the best of him and he is not the type who will respond well to tough coaching. He is a promising talent whose versatility makes him inviting for teams looking for an inside presence, whether at power forward or center. However, he needs to show maturity on and off the court and must work on improving his overall stamina and conditioning.