Posted July 23, 2013

DeMarcus Cousins gets second shot with Team USA after clashing with Jerry Colangelo

Ben Golliver, DeMarcus Cousins, USA Basketball
DeMarcus Cousins

DeMarcus Cousins is looking to impress in hopes of landing a spot on a future national team. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

LAS VEGAS — Last summer, USA Basketball chairman Colangelo told reporters that Kings center DeMarcus Cousins “has some growing up to do” and that he “needs to mature as a person.” That prompted some pushback from Cousins, who has also developed a reputation for volatility toward referees and opponents. Some wondered whether Cousins’ personality would wind up limiting his chances with Team USA, which did not select him for the 2012 London Olympics after his tryout.

Colangelo and Cousins, who turns 23 next month, both indicated Monday that the fences have been mended.

“There was a little bit of a misunderstanding that got out of hand with the media over what did transpire with him and that was unfortunate,” Colangelo said on the first day of the U.S. team’s minicamp. “In an attempt to bring it to a close, I said, The book is closed, let’s move on with our lives and why not give him a second chance? Everyone deserves a second chance.”

USA Today Sports reported that Cousins said he was glad to be in Las Vegas and that last summer’s exchange with Colangelo was overblown.

“What was said between us wasn’t as bad as it [seemed],” Cousins said. “But for him to push that aside and give me another chance, I’m very thankful. I’m going to come in here and make the best of the opportunity.”

John Calipari, who coached Cousins for one season at Kentucky, was excited that his former player was invited back.

“What’s going on for him here is the best thing for his career,” Calipari said. “Being coached by these guys, being in this, taking pride in something other than himself, it’s about this organization. If you want to make it, you make everybody better or you’re not making the team.”

Meanwhile, Colangelo gave high marks to Cousins’ effort on Monday.

“He’s done fine,” Colangelo said. “He came in with a great attitude, he has worked real hard [and] he had a good day today in practice. But a lot of people did.”

3 comments
jphoto802
jphoto802

Expectations for this guy are so incredibly low that a single good day at anything is newsworthy, as shown here.

leehwgoc
leehwgoc

@jphoto802 Or it's because there's actually something of a dearth (at least by Team USA standards) of quality big-men in the current national team talent pool, and so Cousins getting his act together would be pretty useful.

jphoto802
jphoto802

@leehwgoc @jphoto802Sure, no doubt about that. Just pointing out that if twelve guys do really well and generally act professional, only Cousins earns (evidently) points for it because, well, he's him. For everyone else, that's just called "how to be a pro and do your job". Dwight Howard needs to be babied and coddled by his organization of the moment, as well, and it kills me. Dude, offered to be a player in return for a contract. Are we done? Now put in the work and go play.