DeMarcus Cousins is taking an interior drafting course at Erwin High School this year as a sophomore. Fitting. The 6-foot-9, 234-pound forward is building his game into something pretty special.
After a brilliant showing at the Nike All-America camp and Nike Hoop Jamboree, the Birmingham, Ala. native showed off a skill set that is hard to rival in his class of 2009. Rivals.com recently named Cousins the top overall player in the country in his class.
As good as Cousins was at the Hoop Jamboree, he showed a versatile power game inside and a feathery touch from the perimeter. Cousins said he didn't know what to expect when he showed up in Indianapolis. After the shock of playing in front of the coaches he grew up watching on television wore off, he just did what he knows best.
"It was crazy. I've never been through anything like that before. I enjoyed it. It was bananas.
"I believe I did pretty good. I learned a lot there. Most importantly, I learned I'm not as good as I thought I was," Cousins said. "I know I have to get better. I know I have to keep working harder and learning more. I want to see for myself what I can become."
Cousins is no overnight secret. As a freshman, he averaged 21 points, 14 rebounds and six blocks a game. This year, he said he knows his role is heightened on his high school team.
"All eyes are on me now. I have to constantly work," Cousins said. "Coach wants me to be more of a leader. I have to lead by example."
"I'm getting letters from all of the big timers," Cousins said. "Duke, Ohio State, Texas, Alabama, Florida, there are just so many and I'm just trying to get through high school. I'm not even thinking about it."
No surprise, Alabama has made him a high priority. Cousins said the Crimson Tide are "really turning the heat up on me. They've really been recruiting me pretty good." A trip to Tuscaloosa is strong possibility in the fall, he said.
The schools will come over the next three years. He knows that. He knows what he has to do to keep them coming, too. The humble Southern born, Southern bred big man is building himself into something special.