Former Mount Vernon High School basketball standout, Cousins is a 6′ 6 shooting guard who averaged 12.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists in his senior year at Oklahoma last season. Perhaps most importantly for the Kings’ purposes, he shot 41.1% from three point range and can play either guard position. As a second round pick, Cousins isn’t guaranteed to make the team or even be offered a contract, but we’ll still likely see him play in Las Vegas for the Summer League team and also in the preseason before the Kings make a decision.
Cousins has the potential to be a top NBA draft choice, said Lowes Moore, a former NBA player and the executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Mount Vernon, which Cousins attended as a child. Moore likened Cousins to another tall point guard, Russell Westbrook, a star Oklahoma City Thunder player, and said Cousins likely will use the shoulder injury as motivation. “He’s resilient,” Moore said in 2014. “Even as a little kid, he played with that chip, he lived with that chip. He wants to be good.” Cousins started all 33 games for the Oklahoma Sooners in his 2013-2014 Sophomore season.
It nearly all went south in June 3, 2014, when Cousins was hit with a stray bullet in the back of the shoulder, caught in the crossfire as two Mount Vernon street gangs traded gunshots. It was a scary moment, but it wasn’t life-threatening. It also was not enough to keep him from returning back to the court. Not everyone who is a victim on inner city gun violence is as blessed as Cousins is, it could have been so much worst, but two years and about three weeks later, Cousins has been selected to take his talents to Sacramento.
The Sacramento Kings introduced Isaiah Cousins and his fellow rookies, Georgios Papagiannis and, Skal Labissiere Monday, June 27th in a Press Conference at 11 A.M. Pacific time. Kings.com carried live coverage of the press conference for those who were interested in tuning in.
The Kings did not be introduce Malachi Richardson today, as the trade of Marco Belinelli for Richardson will not be official until July 1st, when the Kings can trade Belinelli into Charlotte’s cap space.
Cousins averaged 9.7 points (.408 FG%, .407 3pt%, .711 FT%), 3.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.1 steals and 27.7 minutes per game in 137 career games in four seasons (2012-13 – 2015-16) with the Sooners. He had his best statistical season as a senior, averaging career-bests in points (12.6 ppg), assists (4.5 apg), steals (1.4 spg) and minutes (33.3 mpg) while grabbing 4.5 rebounds a game and shooting 40.6 percent from the field and 41.1 percent from three-point range. Cousins became the 42nd player in Sooner history to score 1,000 points in a career and finished his career ranked fifth in 3-point field goal percentage (.407), seventh in minutes played (3,796), eighth in 3-pointers made (176) and ninth in steals (157).
This is the first time in the Sacramento-era the Kings have selected a player from the University of Oklahoma. Cousins becomes the first senior selected by the Kings since Orlando Johnson was in the second round (36th overall) of the 2012 NBA Draft.
Other NBA players that came from Mount Vernon, NY include; Ray Williams (1977 – New York Knicks), Gus Williams ( 1975 – Golden State Warriors), Earl Tatum (1976 – Los Angeles Lakers), Lowes Moore (1980 – New Jersey Nets), Scooter McCray (1983 – Seattle Supersonics), Rodney McCray (1983 – Houston Rockets), Kevin Jones (2012 – Cleveland Cavaliers), Rudy Hackett (1976 – New York Nets) and Ben Gordon (2004 – Chicago Bulls).
Mount Vernon has been a factory of professional talent, churning out All-Stars, as well as those who won championships and those who stayed briefly but still made the big time. Now Ten N.B.A. players have emerged from Mount Vernon over the last 30 or so years.
BW salutes Isaiah Cousins!