Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
After an unofficial visit to Memphis this weekend, DeMarcus Cousins pulled the trigger and committed to John Calipari’s program.
“Me and my family came to a decision after talking about it. We just thought it was the best place for me to be,” Cousins told Slamonline.com. “Everything about the school, the city, whole visit was impressive. I already liked Memphis, so the visit was just icing on the cake.”
The 6-foot-10, 250-pound Cousins is the No. 2 overall player and No. 1 power forward in the Class of 2009. He joins an impressive recruiting class that includes shooting guard Xavier Henry, guard Nolan Dennis, wing Darnell Dodson and big man Will Coleman.The Tigers are also involved with point guard John Wall, the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2009, according to Rivals.Calipari came to watch Cousins in January at the Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass., and that impressed the big man.
Cousins also said then that Henry, the 6-6 shooting guard out of Oklahoma City Putnam City, had been working on recruiting him since he committed in November.
“We talk almost every day,” Cousins said of Henry in January. “[He’s] hyped that I’m interested in the school. It will be an honor to play with Xavier.”
Cousins initially committed to UAB but changed his mind when the program wouldn’t grant him an escape clause in case head coach Mike Davis left.
Washington, N.C. State, Kansas State and Rice were also in the mix for Cousins.
“I love him and I really want the best for all my kids,” LeFlore (Ala.) High School coach Otis Hughley said Sunday by phone.
“Like my other 16 other Division 1 players, my prayers are that he gets a degree,” Hughley said. “The institution itself never really mattered to me, just as long he could be somewhere where it fits him and he fits them, and that he has a tremendous post-secondary experience.”
Memphis will lose Robert Dozier and Antonio Anderson to graduation and could lose freshman Tyreke Evans and junior Shawn Taggart to the NBA. Cousins will likely have a short stay at Memphis as well.
“Winning a national championship, that’s my number-one goal [as a freshman next season],” Cousins told Slam. “Whatever Cal needs me to do, I’ll do it. However I have to fit in, I’m willing to do it.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.