Oklahoma guard Isaiah Cousins is expected to recover quickly and join the team next week after being shot in the back of the shoulder by an errant bullet on Tuesday night, Sooners coach Lon Kruger said.
Kruger said Cousins wasn’t expected to undergo surgery.
“It could’ve been awful if it was in a little bit different spot,” Kruger said.
Mount Vernon, N.Y., police told The Journal News of suburban New York City that Cousins was an innocent bystander caught up in the shooting between two gangs.
Cousins had left his house and was going to meet a friend when he was caught up in the shooting.
The violence between that two gangs began the night before, when a member of one gang fired several shots, striking three cars, according The Journal News.
No one was injured and the shooter was arrested, but the violence continued the next night.
Neither Cousins nor anyone in the group he was with was involved in gang activity, police told the newspaper.
Kruger spoke with Cousins after the shooting.
“It truly was a matter of him being in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Kruger said. “We’re very thankful it wasn’t worse than it was.”
Players are expected back in Norman late next week as summer classes begin June 9.
Cousins averaged 11 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists for the Sooners as a sophomore last season, starting every game.
Mount Vernon is just outside the Bronx. The city transitions from the urban environment of the Bronx to suburban Westchester County.
“It’s a town of hardship and unemployment and ghetto per se, but it’s a place where you have a lot of love,” Sooners assistant Lew Hill, who is also from Mount Vernon, said during the season. “It’s a place that if you work hard and stay on the right course, you can get out of there too.”
Bob Cimmino, Cousins’ high school coach, told The Journal News that Cousins often stopped by the high school when he returned home.
Cousins said this season that he was glad to get away from home for college.
“Coming from where we come from, sometimes trust is the hardest issue,” Hill said. “You can’t always let your guard down in New York. It’s a cutthroat city. You’ve got to have a hard edge.”
That edge — off the court at least — started to come off a bit late in the season.
“It’s like we’ve got a big brick wall there and we just chisel it out and it just starts falling apart,” Hill said. “He’s just understanding that you can have fun. Everything ain’t a grind.”
Cousins also sharpened his game as the season went on, rounding into his role as the Sooners’ top perimeter defender as the year went on.
“Nobody works harder than he does” Hill said. “He’s just starting to get some of the fruits of his work.”