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Ben Coupet Jr.’s journey from Simeon freshman phenom to SIU

High School Sports Weekly
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Simeon’s Ben Coupet Jr. (1) drives down the court against Bloomington. | Sun-Times file photo
Simeon’s Ben Coupet Jr. (1) drives down the court against Bloomington. | Sun-Times file photo
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.
Justin Mullins and 5 other juniors that opened eyes in April
There are new basketball players on the radar, those who are set to try and impress college coaches in the coming months and set to make a significant impact next season as seniors.
They may not be of the high-profile variety with high-major interest or an endless list of offers, but they’ve done enough this spring to impress.
Justin Mullins, Oak Park
The rangy 6-4 wing shined for the Huskies this past winter as an under-the-radar junior. He grew a few inches, popped off a 30-point game and finished the year averaging 15 points, seven rebounds and two steals a game.
Now he’s one of the fastest-rising prospects in the Class of 2022.
Mullins does more to excite you the more you watch him play. While he showcases a pretty multi-dimensional game with an ability to get to the rim and make a shot from the three-point line, he also does a lot of little things to impact his team.
Mullins has established himself as a scholarship player at the Division I level who is blessed with a high ceiling and untapped potential.
More offseason news
Illinois football coach Bret Bielema picks up commitments from two local juniors
IHSA bass fishing: Challenging weather doesn’t diminish return of sectionals
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