Jaleel Cousins joined the Bulls last year, giving first year coach Orlando Antigua a big body in the paint. While he had the size, his offensive game needed development. So far in 2015, the hard work he put in during the off-season is paying off.
Cousins joined the Bulls out of Navarro College where he averaged just 3.7 PPG and 2.9 RPG. He was a raw talent that struggled in year one under Coach Antigua. Cousins started 8 games in 2014, playing in 32 games overall. He averaged 2.9 PPG, totaling 92 total points on 32 for 68 shooting. He was 29 for 67 free throw line as well and hit a season high of 9 points twice during that season. He totaled 51 rebounds (2.6 RPG), 3 assists, 23 blocks, and 4 steals during the course of the season.
In the off-season, Cousins hit the track to work on his overall conditioning, taking a more dedicated approach to the game. He worked hard, lost weight, and improved his overall conditioning (as Joey Knight had in his report). So far, the hard work is paying off on the court.
In 8 starts (9 games, already equaling his total starts from last year), Cousins is averaging 9.7 PPG (87 total points) on 30 for 59 shooting and 27 for 46 from the free throw line. In just 9 games, Cousins has tripled his points per game average from last year and nearly equaled all of last year in total points. He has 4 double-doubles already after reaching just 9 points as a season high last year. He also has 76 total rebounds (8.4 RPG, already more than last year), along with 2 assists, 18 blocks, and 11 steals. Cousins has nearly totaled or surpassed all of last year’s statistics in just 9 games and there is no sign that he is slowing down after just a month into the season.
If the Bulls are going to get the win total up this season, they will need to rely on their big men in the paint starting with Cousins. He is off to an incredible start to his senior season for the Bulls.