Oklahoma men’s basketball coach Lon Kruger wasn’t thinking at all about his team’s future on the court when the call came earlier this week that Isaiah Cousins had been shot.
His thoughts were with Cousins and his recovery after taking a bullet that wasn’t intended for him or anyone in his group.
Cousins was shot Tuesday night in his hometown of Mount Vernon, N.Y., caught up in a shooting involving two warring gangs while he walked with a group of friends to another friend’s house.
The shot, which came from more than half a block away, struck Cousins in the back of the shoulder.
He was treated at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx and released the next morning. He hasn’t and won’t require surgery.
Cousins is expected to return to Norman soon for the start of the summer semester and be available for team workouts this month.
The junior-to-be who started every game last year is expected to be a key part of a Sooners team that will have high expectations next season after making the NCAA Tournament last year and losing just three players — Cam Clark and Tyler Neal to graduation and Je’lon Hornbeak to transfer.
Cousins’ mother, Lisa, told The Journal News of suburban New York City, that she hoped police efforts to crack down on gang activity would have a positive effect on the community situated just next to the Bronx.
“They got to get rid of these guns,” Lisa Cousins said. “I mean, clean up the community.”
According to police, the violence started when a reputed member of one gang fired several shots Monday night, striking three cars.
The next night, a retaliatory gunshot from another gang struck Cousins.
Cousins said during his sophomore season that he wanted to get away from home for college, but he was also drawn to Norman because of the presence of assistant coach Lew Hill, a Mount Vernon native who used basketball to get out of that environment.
“He helps me and he understands what it’s like growing up and playing for Mount Vernon,” Cousins said near the end of the season. “Oklahoma was nothing compared to New York and Mount Vernon.”
The biggest adjustment, Cousins said, to living in Oklahoma has been the difference in transportation.
“Everything is far away here and you can’t really walk somewhere or there’s not bus transportation, no trains.”
His mother told the newspaper that Isaiah looked forward to returning to Norman.
Isaiah told The Journal News was uncomfortable talking about the incident but wasn’t in pain.
“I’m good,” he said.