Ben Coupet Jr. has always had the name.
Coupet entered high school as the top prospect in the state of Illinois way back in 2012. He headed to powerhouse Simeon which was coming off its third straight state championship.
Simeon was also where his father, Ben Coupet Sr., became a Public League star before he went off to play collegiately at Illinois and, eventually, at Bradley.
Coupet Jr. was expected to be the next big thing at Simeon. As a 6-7 freshman with the type of talent, upside and pedigree that Coupet possessed, the hyperbole surrounding him as a young player was probably too much, even unfair.
After an up-and-down career at Simeon and a tough three years at UNLV — “it was a dark time for me,” he said — Coupet transferred from UNLV and found his way at Arkansas-Little Rock, producing in a way that showed the talent he possessed. He went from being a no-namer riding the bench to a legit difference-maker.
With everyone in college basketball being granted an extra year of eligibility due to the pandemic, the biggest beneficiary of Coupet’s rise just might be Southern Illinois. Coach Bryan Mullins and the Salukis will be getting the best of Coupet for one year after the long, athletic forward announced he is transferring to SIU.