When Mike Davis returned to Alabama as the UAB head coach, the locals knew he would dig deep to land some of the best players within the borders. Target number one was DeMarcus Cousins and on Friday, the big time national prospect decided he would suit up for the Blazers.
The 6-foot-9, 250-pound power forward from LeFlore (Ala.) High School has never hid his admiration for Mike Davis. The five-star junior has publicly said Davis is like a father figure.
"He feels that way towards the people that have shown him love in his life," LeFlore head coach Hughley said. "Mike Davis is as close to him as people in his family."
Cousins, who grew up in Birmingham before moving to Mobile at the start of the school year, is the second major score for Davis from Alabama. The last big-timer from the state to commit to Davis was Indiana's D.J. White.
Hughley said Cousin's commitment should start a chain reaction of other in-state players to commit to the program.
"You look at Robert Vaden and what he's been able to do there, that's encouraging. He's really worked out well there," Hughley said. "I think is going to be a domino effect. I think we'll see some other players go there, too."
For UAB, Cousins is the highest ranked player to ever commit to the school. He's also a major player to help the Blazers play Memphis, the powerhouse in Conference USA, step-for-step down the road.
"[DeMarcus's] upside is huge once he decides what's important on the basketball court and not what makes him feel good," Hughley said. "He's playing like a foreign guy because he likes to pass it, shoot it and dribble it. When he wants to play inside, he's pretty good."
Cousins averaged 19 points and 10 rebounds this year for LeFlore. The top 10 prospect also considered Missouri, Alabama, Memphis, Indiana and Arkansas, Hughley said.