- Adam Finkelstein
This past weekend Isaiah Cousins (Mount Vernon, N.Y./Mount Vernon High School) announced he had cut his list to five schools and would take official visits to all five campuses before making a final decision in April.
Three days later, that plan obviously changed as Cousins made a verbal commitment to Oklahoma following his official visit to start the week, leaving Connecticut, Virginia Tech, Xavier and Dayton all waiting at the altar.
Oklahoma undoubtedly benefitted from assistant coach Lew Hill’s hometown ties -- a Mount Vernon graduate himself -- but the other factor that presumably played a big role in Cousins’ decision was the potential to play point guard position for the Sooners.
Cousins has spent the majority of his career playing off the ball and was projected by most to play that position at the next level. However, with Jabarie Hinds moving on to West Virginia this year, the 6-foot-4 Cousins slid over to the point for the majority of his senior season at Mount Vernon and has aspirations to stay in that spot for the next four years.
Oklahoma already has a pair of 2-guards in its 2012 class in Buddy Hield (Bel Air, Kan./Sunrise Christian Academy) and Je’lon Hornbreak (Arlington, Texas/Grace Prep), and had zeroed in on Cousins as the best available lead guard prospect left on the board. That’s not to say the Sooners consider him to be a pure point guard by any stretch, but relative to the other options left available in the national class -- and given his well known work ethic -- they liked his potential to eventually develop into a big lead guard.
Virginia Tech was really the only other school among his final five that could offer the same opportunity. Connecticut returns Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright, and Xavier and Dayton are both bringing in freshman point guards in Semaj Christon and Jevon Thomas, respectively.
At Oklahoma, Cousins will have the luxury of being brought along slowly as Sam Grooms, Carl Blair and Steven Pledger are all entering their senior seasons in the backcourt. As a freshman, his role will be to utilize his versatility to plug holes off the bench, while preparing for a sophomore season in which Lon Kruger will need him to be able to step up and be ready to contribute significant minutes at the point guard position -- which is exactly the challenge that Cousins was looking for.