In the crazy world of recruiting, we're often caught looking for "who's next?" There really is no faster way to take attention away from yourself as a prospect than committing to a school.
"Before I committed, my coach would always tell me who was going to be in the stands to get me pumped up a little bit, but it also stressed me out," the 6-foot-9, 265-pounder said. "Right now I don't really have to worry about it because I already made a commitment. I can just go and play."
Cougill recently flashed the ability that had schools like national champion Kansas courting him before he named Iowa. He attended the invitation-only NBA Top 100 Camp last week in Virginia and turned heads by finishing third in rebounding for the five-day event.
"It went pretty well," Cougill said. "It was really a great experience. It was amazing to have all that talent from around the country in one place.
"It was a different confidence builder for me. I went down there and I played pretty well."
Cougill averaged 18.8 points and 11.3 rebounds last season for Heelan. He finished his junior season with 1,110 career points. He pledged his allegiance to Iowa last September.
"I've always been a Hawkeye fan," Cougill said. "I've grown up watching the program. With Coach (Todd) Lickliter and his staff, they're going to get what they can out of the players that he's going to bring in. He's going to bring in quality kids and good athletes. Give him a couple of years and he's going to build a great program."
Cougill said that no other schools have tried to recruit him since his verbal to the Hawkeyes.
With his college choice behind him, Cougill has concentrated on preparing his game for his final season of high school and beyond.
"I'm looking for more explosion, to get quicker and expand my range a little bit," he said.
Cougill said that he feels comfortable shooting out to about the 3-point line right now. He also is working hard on building his body up for the rigors of the Big Ten.
"Since basketball season ended, I've been in the weight room every day working," he said. "There's also a program that works on explosion and conditioning."
There was talk this spring that Cougill might play in the Prime Time League, which features Iowa players past and present. He couldn't make it work.
"I thought about it, but when I realized I was only going to be home (in Iowa) for a combined 10 days out of the month of July, it didn't seem possible," Cougill said. "It would have just been rugged."
Cougill will see plenty of competition even without a run in the PTL. He starts off a busy upcoming month with a trip to the Reebok All-American Camp July 6-10 in Philadelphia. He'll then make two trips to Kansas City for tournaments and the national AAU gathering in Orlando.
Without scouts to impress, Cougill has a more detailed focus.
"I'm just really looking to leading my team to win the championship at one of these things," he said. "I just want to get my name out there and play well in the all-American camp."
Then in the winter, Cougill and his Heelan teammates will take another run at a state title after being knocked out by eventual champion Dubuque Wahlert last season.
"We have a lot of talent coming back," Cougill said. "We should be able to make a run at the whole thing if not a deep run."