"It seems like every day in practice he makes me look stupid," the six-foot freshman guard said pointing to Zimmerman. "I try to guard him, but it is next to impossible. I know it is making me better, but sometimes I think he just has fun with me."
Do not let the name fool you, Cowherd, pronounced coward, is not scared. Cowherd got his first extended action in MSU's second game of the season against McNeese State. He immediately posted up their seven-foot center, and took a foul.
"I want to go out there and make plays, know matter what I have to do," Cowherd said. "I have to be able to use my mind and knowledge of the game to get in the right position."
Cowherd has used his knowledge of the game to impress the MSU coaching staff, but he is hoping that knowledge will pay dividends in the future.
"I am hoping to become a coach one day when I get through playing," Cowherd said. "I have started a scrap book of plays that I have run and plays that other teams have run against me. Down the road when I am a coach I can use the ones that worked."
He is already showing that type of spirit on the court. During the McNeese State game, Cowherd pulled Winsome Frazier aside and explained how Frazier could make the offense run smoother. The next possession, Cowherd hit Frazier on a cut and Frazier knocked down a shot for two of his career-high 14 points.
"I already see myself as a coach on the floor," Cowherd said. "I won't be the guy yelling and screaming, but I will be the guy trying to help everyone else. If I am getting everyone else involved, then I am doing my job."
Because of an injury similar to "turf-toe," Cowherd missed about three weeks of practice time during the preseason schedule. MSU coaches are hoping, however, that his knowledge of the game will help him catch up quickly, and provide quality playing time for the Bulldogs.
"We need a couple of games like this one," MSU head coach Rick Stansbury said after the McNeese State game. "Stephen needs to be able to play during sometimes that we have comfortable lead, so that he can get used to playing at this speed. He is a bright kid, and he will help us a lot down the road."
Cowherd came to MSU as one of the nation's most sought after high school point guards from last year's class. Nonetheless he still knows his role on this team.
"I want to go out every chance I get and play as hard as I can play," Cowherd said. "I don't want to give up any of our lead. I know that I am out there to give Zimmerman a break and I don't want the team to miss a beat."
Grant Alford is a free-lance correspondent for Gene's Page. He is a student at Mississippi State University. You can contact him by email at email@example.com.