New Albany senior point guard Dustin Cochran might be the smallest Bulldog on the court, but his game is key to New Albany’s drive toward the Hoosier Hills Conference title. Cochran is averaging 9.2 points, 3 rebounds and 2 steals per game after scoring 17 against Scottsburg on Saturday. When he plays well, he sets the tone for the Bulldogs (8-2 and ranked No.15 in Class 4-A).
New Albany is leading the Hoosier Hills Conference. What has been the key to your success this season?
We have the chemistry. We’ve played together in past years. We just try to play hard every game and get the win.
What do you love about basketball?
It takes my mind off other things, it helps me relax. It started in the eighth grade. That’s when I found out I was really good and started taking it seriously.
At 5-foot-7, what are the challenges and advantages created by your size?
It can be an advantage because bigger guards have a hard time guarding me. But then defensively, I have trouble with them. I wish I was taller, but I try not to worry about that.
Did your brother Shannon, who also played for New Albany, influence your career?
Yes, it was the way he played and showed me things. He told me to keep my head on straight. We talked and played together one-on-one, and he taught me a lot of things. I looked up to him from there.
Who has been your main role model?
My mother is so strong and independent. She doesn’t need a bunch of people to help her, and I like that. I look up to her a lot.
What lessons have you learned from the game?
It has taught me to work hard in everything you do and not to give up. It’s one of the main things I try to do, on and off the court.
Your coach, Jim Shannon, has won 436 games during his 30-year career. What have you learned from him?
It’s a great honor to play for him. He’s a great coach, one of the best in Southern Indiana. He just knows what he’s talking about. He knows how we all play, he’s watched us grow up.
What do you see yourself doing in 10 years?
I plan on going to college, and I see myself involved with sports, doing other things around it. Sports have relieved a bunch of pressure off me.
DUSTIN COCHRAN UP CLOSE
New Albany Senior Mother Stella Duncan, father Clark Cochran; brother Shannon Wilkerson (29) Dustin in the point guard for the Bulldogs, who are 8-2 and lead the Hoosier Hills Conference at 5-0. “Dustin is an unassuming kid off the court, but he talks a lot on the court. He’s done a whale of a job. He has a knack for the game, and he’s in the right place at the right time. He scores big points, and he’s essential to our team being successful. I love coaching him.”* School: * Year: * Family: * Student/athlete: * Coach Jim Shannon:
— Justin Sokeland