ORLANDO, Fla – Jaleel Cousins,the younger brother of NBA superstar DeMarcus Cousins, understands the importance of making it for himself, without the help of his family name.
The 22-year-old put up 7 points and 7 rebounds in only 15 minutes, as the University of South Florida managed their first post-season win in three years, beating the University of East Carolina by a score of 71-66.
Despite only playing 15 minutes, the centre proved his value with the second highest plus/minus on the team, but some early foul troubles left him sitting on the bench for more than half the game.
“I came out of the gate fast, but I got into foul trouble,” Jaleel said. “The first foul I thought I was just rebounding aggressively, but the second foul…I just didn’t want to give up the basket.”
He said it was tough to sit for so long as he is used to playing much longer minutes.
“It was hard. I had to sit the whole rest of the half, and when I came back in, I was kind of cold and stiff. I had to try and get right back to it. I ended up doing fine,” said Jaleel.
The 6’11 centre from Mobile, Atlanta, said he gets sick of being compared to his brother DeMarcus, even though he admires him.
“It is a blessing and a curse at the same time,” Jaleel said. “It gets old, every individual is different, but that’s just something you have to live with. He’s doing great, I’m proud of him, and I love him. I just have to do my own thing, and hopefully we can make the Cousins’ name even bigger.”
Orlando Antigua, head coach of the Bulls, has worked with both Jaleel and DeMarcus when he was assistant coach at the University of Kentucky.
“They are both really big, and they have a great mom. They can rebound the ball,” Antigua said.
The 22-year-old led the team in rebounds per game over the regular season, and was listed as a potential starter. He ended up coming off the bench in what was a coaching decision.
“I just thought that the lineup that we started with made us a bit quicker and we played a lot faster in transition,” Antigua said.
With files from Shoaib Alli
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