Cougill Looking to Contribute Right Away

Brennan Cougill held his own on Wednesday night going up against former UNI big man Erik Coleman. Cougill talked about his performance in the PTL and more in this interview with HN.com.

NORTH LIBERTY - Brennan Cougill is receiving a baptism under fire this summer. Iowa's freshman big man challenges more experienced post players on a nightly basis.

On Wednesday night, Cougill went up against former UNI center Erik Coleman. The new Hawkeye held his own.

Cougill finished with 16 points on 7 of 13 shooting from the floor, seven rebounds and three assists. Coleman showed up late to the game and finished with eight points on only three shots from the field. Cougill also matched up with new teammate Aaron Fuller on occasion.

Fuller and Coleman's team won, 97-94, with Fuller scoring 25 and fellow Hawk Devan Bawinkle netting 22. Iowa's Cully Payne dished out 15 assists for the winners, and college running mate Anthony Tucker tossed in a game-high 35 points in a losing effort.

Cougill showed soft hands and an ability to maneuver smoothly around the basket. He can shoot it with both hands. He spoke with Hawkeye Nation after his game and talked about college ball and more:

Q: How is going so far? You‘ve been here, what, three or four weeks?

A: Yeah, me and Cully Payne have been here about three weeks. It's going pretty well. We're just kind of chilling around in our apartment and then getting into the gym, getting up a couple hundred shots a day. We're trying to work hard so when it's the prime time, when it comes to the games, we'll be in rhythm and we won't be scared to take that shot.

Q: Are you doing any summer school or are you just working on basketball?

A: I'm just working on basketball and I got a job at Active Endeavors, downtown.

Q: What have you learned about yourself in the last three weeks having played against experienced Division I players in the PTL and in scrimmaging with your Hawkeye teammates?

A: I've learned that I can come and compete. It's not going to be at a high level right now because I have to get used to that physicality. This is the Prime Time (League) and they have some pretty physical players here, but it's not near as physical as you're going to see in the Big Ten. It's definitely helping me make a smooth transition with the physical style of play with all of the guys I've been guarding here so far.

Q: You seem pretty skilled. You‘re able to move out on the floor and bring big guys away from the basket. Has that been an advantage for you in the past?

A: In high school, I really haven't had to move outside my comfort zone in the lane. Coach (Todd) Lickliter and the coaching staff at Iowa, they stress that they want their big guys to be able to shoot. You can tell with the emergence of Jarryd Cole's shot. He has a knock-down, 15-foot jumper now. It's a big part of their offense. A key to their offense is being able to create mismatches. If you have a small guy on you, take him down low. If you've got a bigger guy, take him outside and take away that guy's shot blocking ability.

Q: How about your defense? That‘s usually the biggest adjustment for freshmen.

A: I think low block I'm doing just fine. I just try to anchor myself in and not let them get the easy shots. My perimeter defense has got some work to do. But that's basically based on quickness. I've got to quicken up my feet a little bit.

Q: This program had a little turmoil in the spring with players transferring. How have you found things here?

A: My impression is that it's been fun being with the guys. Everybody is upbeat. The coaches were sad to lose those four players, but they called us right away and said "What's done is done. We can't wait to get you on campus and start working out with the guys." It's just a positive attitude. Nobody is negative over it. We're all just staying positive and just working hard to make the team better.

Q: What do you four new guys bring to the table?

A; Archie and May bring that type of athleticism, the freakish athleticism. You see May throw down some monster dunks. Archie is going to bring that shot blocking ability, that rebounding ability and able to finish over a couple of guys. Cully is a knock down three-point shooter. On the pick and roll, he makes smart decisions most of the time. He's really impressed me the most as a freshman point guard. You don't expect a guy to come in and adapt quite like he has. For me, I think I just bring in another rebounded and some versatility to that five spot just in case we come across that guy that likes camp in the lane. And if I have my shot down, hopefully I can spread them out and be able to get him out of the lane.


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