Oklahoma Sooners: C.J. Cole

Lon Kruger’s approach on the recruiting trails has made it clear Oklahoma men’s basketball coach wants options in the backcourt.

OU added another versatile guard to the roster with the signing of Isaiah Cousins (Mount Vernon, N.Y./Mount Vernon) on Wednesday. A 6-foot-4 combo guard, Cousins is a two-star prospect on ESPN.com who picked the Sooners over offers from Xavier, Virginia Tech, Rhode Island and Dayton.

Cousins fits the mold of fellow 2012 signee Je'lon Hornbeak as a guard who can play point guard or shooting guard.

"He has played a lot at the off (-guard position), he's played a lot at the point,” Kruger said in a release. “He's a guy who will come in here and make good plays for his teammates. Everyone will enjoy playing with him. He loves to play, he's a good competitor and he has a really high desire to get better and be as good as he can be."

Most importantly, he should provide depth and fit into the hard-working mentality Kruger continues to try to build the program upon.

“He's the ultimate gym rat,” said Mount Vernon coach Bob Cimmino who has coached at the school for the past 18 years. “Isaiah is probably the most improved player I've coached in my tenure at Mount Vernon.

“He's always had a great work ethic, but something just clicked in the last year, and as a result, his talent just escalated off the charts. He got better and better and became a dominant force in our games. He only knows how to play at one particular level and that's hard. Isaiah takes no plays off and he works equally hard on both ends of the court."

Cousins joins Hornbeak, Buddy Hield and invited walk-on C.J. Cole as newcomers to the program next fall.
Nobody questioned the effort of the Oklahoma basketball team in its first year under coach Lon Kruger. Though the results weren’t always there, the Sooners gave everything they had in every game.

[+] EnlargeIsaiah Cousins
AP Photo/Mike GrollGuard Isaiah Cousins picked the Sooners over Xavier, Virginia Tech and South Carolina, and others.
Discipline wasn’t the problem but scoring was a concern and has been the target of OU’s 2012 class. Already with two shooting guards signed, OU has its third shooting guard in the class.

Guard Isaiah Cousins (Mount Vernon, N.Y./Mount Vernon) committed to the Sooners on Wednesday, high school coach Bob Cimmino confirmed.

Cousins, a two-star prospect, is 6-foot-4 and 188 pounds. He also has offers from Xavier, Virginia Tech and South Carolina, among others. Xavier, Virginia Tech, Dayton and Connecticut were the other schools in his top five.

Kruger and assistant coach Lew Hill visited Mount Vernon High last week and Cousins visited OU this week. Hill is a graduate of Mount Vernon.

Cousins had some early offers and could have signed, but he decided to wait because he felt more schools would enter the chase. He was right as Cimmino said the interest for Cousins picked up almost overnight.

Shooting guards Je'lon Hornbeak (Arlington, Texas/Grace Prep) and Buddy Hield (Bel Aire, Kan./Sunrise Christian) have already signed their letters of intent for the Sooners.
Every weekday morning, a member of the SoonerNation gives his take on three things happening in the Sooner sports world.

1. Don’t expect the dominoes to fall in terms of commitments for the Sooners. It’s possible Oklahoma will get one more commit here in the next week or so, but anybody looking for a Texas-like week where four or five recruits pledge in a span of days will be sorely mistaken. Running back Keith Ford (Cypress, Texas/Ranch) is a good way to start the 2013 class, regardless of what happens next.

2. Good to have football back, right? Everybody has their own personal preference about what the No. 1 storyline to watch for should be. I’m looking at tight ends and really want to see what Brannon “Moose” Green and Taylor McNamara bring to the table. They’ve certainly developed a bond and are both confident players. This next month will give us a small glimpse about whether or not these are names we’ll need to get familiar with in a hurry.

3. This is the final week of Oklahoma high school basketball playoffs, and there are a number of OU prospects still alive in the quest for a state championship. If you want to stay in the Oklahoma City area, walk-on C.J. Cole (Sperry, Okla./Sperry) and 2013 star Stevie Clark (Oklahoma City/Douglass) will be playing in separate games. And up in the Tulsa area 2013 prospects Jordan Woodard (Edmond, Okla./Memorial) and Shaquille Morris (Edmond, Okla./Santa Fe) will be involved in games of their own. Champions will be crowned Saturday night. Woodard and Clark are the two favorites in terms of their teams coming out on top.
Point guard Stevie Clark (Oklahoma City/Douglass) knows this Oklahoma season can't be judged on wins and losses. With first-year coach Lon Kruger trying to resurrect the program and instill a sense of pride, Clark knows it won’t happen overnight.

But for one night, a winning result would go a long way for the Sooners going into the future. OU, on a six-game losing streak and losers of eight of its last nine, has a chance to momentarily end its woes with a win against Bedlam rival Oklahoma State at 7 p.m. CT on Wednesday at the Lloyd Noble Center.

[+] EnlargeJordan Woodard
Courtesy Kelly Kline/NikeClass of 2013 four-star point guard Jordan Woodard has an offer from Oklahoma.
“I’m more looking at the style of play and how I might fit in than anything else at this point,” said Clark, who has more than 15 offers.

Clark, a four-star prospect ranked No. 1 in Oklahoma for 2013 and No. 58 in the ESPNU Super 60, won’t be the only top in-state prospect at OU. With Kruger focusing his efforts on keeping the top talent home, Wednesday could be a showcase night for the Sooners.

The Oklahoma high school basketball playoffs start Friday, giving a lot of the state’s elite prospects the opportunity to take in Bedlam.

“I’m definitely going,” said 2013 power forward Shaquille Morris (Edmond, Okla./Santa Fe). “I like what Coach Kruger is doing, and OU is showing a lot of interest.”

Three-star shooting guard Juwan Parker (Tulsa, Okla./Washington) said he plans on attending. He has an OU offer and has made several unofficial visits to OU the last couple of years.

Getting the visits is nice, but the atmosphere Wednesday will be something to watch. Clark was impressed by the atmosphere at Missouri two weeks ago and said it was one of the best experiences he has had.

2013 four-star point guard Jordan Woodard (Edmond, Okla./Memorial) could also attend Wednesday. Woodard made an unofficial visit to Memphis earlier this month and an unofficial visit to Kansas last weekend. OU was one of his first offers.

The future recruits could get a little sell job from forward C.J. Cole (Sperry, Okla./Sperry). Cole, a 2012 prospect who is going to be a preferred walk-on at OU, said he is very excited about getting to see the game.

The Sooners have also made a good impression on 2014 guard Omega Harris (Oklahoma City/Putnam City West). When asked Monday if he was going to Bedlam, Harris said, “just tell me the time, and I’m there.”

Oklahoma State defeated OU 72-65 on Jan. 9 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater.
It’s the dream of many Oklahoma high school football players to play for the Sooners. But it’s not as common a dream for basketball players to say they want to play at OU.

C.J. Cole (Sperry, Okla./Sperry) isn’t all that common. He’s a 6-foot-7 power forward who has a vertical leap of almost 36 inches and has scored a 34 on his ACT.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Video: Day 2 at Big 12 media days
Jake Trotter and Brandon Chatmon discuss Big 12 media days Day 2.
VIDEO PLAYLIST video