Super-Soph DeMarcus Cousins Talks Mizzou

The University of Missouri received an unofficial visit from one of the best young prospects in the nation last summer when 2009 big man DeMarcus Cousins visited MU campus while in state for a tournament in St. Louis. And that might not be the last MU sees of the 6-foot-9 budding star from Birmingham, Alabama, Cousins told

Cousins, a five-star prospect rated the No. 2 rising junior in the country, said he plans to visit Mizzou again some time, most likely next summer when he takes his final visits.

"I think it was a great campus, and I liked their facilities," said Cousins, a polished low-post player who can also handle and shoot well for his size.

Asked to list the schools he's considering most seriously, Cousins named Missouri, Alabama-Birmingham, Alabama, Kentucky, Louisville, North Carolina, Memphis, Louisville and Texas. He recently named UAB his leader because of it's proximity to home, though he's not set on sticking around Alabama for college.

"I can't really say right now," Cousins said, "but going out of state is a possibility."

"When I first got him, he didn't like to go too far away," said Danny Pritchett, his AAU coach with the Birmingham Storm. "But now that he's older, he's starting to branch out more … He really liked Mike Anderson at UAB."

The link between Mizzou and Cousins is Tigers head coach Mike Anderson, also a Birmingham native and the former coach at UAB. Anderson's reputation goes a long way in Alabama.

"I think he's a great coach and he's got a great program, and I like his style of play," Cousins said.

Anderson has already used his home-state connections to land Vanderbilt transfer DeMarre Carroll a year ago, and Carroll, like Anderson, is popular down there.

"DeMarre Carroll is a great athlete. He's a super-great athlete," Pritchett said, before being asked whether he believes Anderson will be able to bring in top-notch talent from the south.

"DeMarre Carroll is there. I think [Anderson] will recruit very well here. I think he can do really well here," Pritchett said. "[Carroll] likes Mike Anderson. DeMarcus got to meet him last year when he went to visit the school … They had very nice facilities, and as you know, Mike Anderson is a great coach."

Cousins has become something of a phenomenon over the past year or so. A Google internet search using his name reveals more than 14,000 related web pages. There's even a flashy fan site bearing his name, but unaffiliated with him; he hadn't heard about hit when it was mentioned to him in our interview.

All of the attention "was hard, but I'm starting to get used to it," he said.

It's not difficult to see why he's become a household name in basketball circles. At times rated the top player in his class, he moves exceptionally well for his size, can finish, plays with strength, can rebound, blocks shots and can work the perimeter. Needless to say, MU fans should drool at the thought of what he could do in Anderson's frantic, fast-paced attack. And both he and his coach said it's a style of play he prefers.

"I don't see him as a post player. I see him as a wing guy. He's developing into a wing guy," Pritchett said.

It's needless to say, but Cousins' recruitment will be quite a fight. He said his top priority in choosing a school is education, although of course he's looking very closely at basketball-related factors. He's not expected to make a commitment until next summer or fall, after taking his visits. It appears Missouri is in good position to receive one of those visits.

Until then, Tigers fans can daydream of a Cousins-Tyler Griffey recruiting combo in 2009 …

Black & Gold Illustrated Top Stories