"I like him, I like his energy," says Cowgill, who ranks among the 10 most prolific shot blockers in the WSU record book. "He's pretty physical and he's the type of player when you're on offense you're like ‘oh great.' You're not looking forward to going against him because you know he's going to heat you up, body you up and be physical with you ... he's just built like a perfect defender."
He said Longrus reminds him of Marcus Capers, not a great scorer but an impact player on defense.
Between work travel and his wife April expecting their first baby (a girl) any day now, Cowgill hasn't had a chance yet this fall to hit the hardwood with the Cougs. "I'm out of shape," he joked. "But Coach Bone and I are close so we've been in contact. I texted him the other day and said ‘we're back, and we're going to be here for a long time'."
COWGILL AND WIFE APRIL, A FORMER WSU VOLLEYBALL PLAYER.
In fact, he's been a weekly presence on a pretty consistent basis since he graduated in 2008 and opted to stay in Pullman working with Campus Crusade for Christ.
"I knew all the guys, since I had just played with them the year before, so basically I got to take shots I never got to take on the scout team."
Cowgill mostly plays on the scout team, but he also jumps into drills with the post players. "If I see things here and there, especially with those younger guys, I'd help coach them up a bit."
The defensive theme Bone is building this season around is something Cowgill appreciates.
"There's a few things from my (playing) experience that I'm really passionate about, especially on the defensive end," he says. So when he does get back on the court with the Cougs he'll be looking at defensive footwork and offering pointers where needed.
Cowgill said the coaching change from Tony Bennett to Bone didn't impact his connection to the program.
"He's (Bone) just been proactive about having me stay around the program as long as I want. I love to because I was doing ministry with athletes those first three years and I care about the basketball program.
IN ADDITION TO LONGRUS, Cowgill offered his insights on other Cougs whose games he's gotten to know pretty well ...
Of the new full- and three-quarter court pressure defense the Cougars plan to implement, Cowgill believes the positive impact will be on both sides of the ball. He said the craftiness of junior point guard Royce Woolridge will be key.
"I see Royce getting a lot of steals."
The new defense will yield benefits in the post, too, he says.
By forcing the baseline and then fronting the post, you can cut off that avenue while at the same time getting backside help. "I think that's better for us because [the opposing posts] are big and if you end up behind them it could be trouble unless you double team."
This is where Cowgill said Shelton, who can sometimes be undersized when guarding bigger post players, will benefit.
"That'll help D.J., to be able to front the post. It'll utilize his quickness as a defender. I could see him getting a lot of steals and some charges. He and Royce and Dexter, I could see those guys getting their hands on a lot of balls, getting deflections and steals."
The Cougars open the season with an exhibition game in Pullman on Nov. 1 against Central Washington, and then launch the campaign in earnest on Nov. 8 in Pullman against Cal State Bakersfield. The CSB game will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks.
COWGILL PILED UP 929 POINTS, 584 REBOUNDS, 118 BLOCKS AND 92 STEALS IN FOUR YEARS WITH THE COUGARS.