"Academically, it's a really good school. It's in Houston, it's in an NBA city and it intrigued him. Its in the south, it's a good city. He's not looking just for a one and done situation. He's looking for a whole life-changing situation."
Hughley said while an assistant was asking him about another player on his team, the coach brought up Cousins and shocked the Rice staffer. Plus, there's a bit of a unique twist to the Rice-Cousins relationship. The big fella is already familiar with one of the Owls signees.
"Tamir Jackson is going to Rice," Hughley said. "They both initially committed to UAB. You can tie that together. These kids (today) talk to each other. They don't want to go somewhere and get the ball all the time and can't score because five people are waiting on them. They want to make sure the attention is divided and they want to make sure they have an equitable chance to compete."
UAB, Hughley said, still has a chance and there's always a possibility Mike Davis has another card to play.
"You also can't rule out what is going to happen to Mike Davis. That's still in play. If he leaves and goes to Alabama, Georgia … there's still a chance at UAB because that relationship is pretty strong tie."
Currently, no visits are planned and Hughley said that will come later in March.
Hughley feels like his big man has made strides as a departing senior.
"I'm real proud of him. He can be better. Where he's come from, he's come exponentially a long way in a relatively short time with regard to his attitude, a host of things. His motor is getting better and so is his maturity. I'm proud of the kid."