Oh my gosh!
DeMarcus Cousins is stunned, stunned that he’s considered too immature to play for the U.S. men’s Olympic basketball team.
The Sacramento Kings thought he would be the answer to getting into the NBA playoffs this year. Instead, the soon-to-be 22-year-old sulked and demanded a trade and was none too subtle when it came time to banging heads with coach Paul Westphal, who was fired in part because he could not get along with the talented young player.
In a story reporting Westphal’s firing, The Associated Press wrote “Cousins’ behavior has been well documented going back to high school and his one season at Kentucky, mixing in dramatic and astonishing plays with outbursts against players, coaches, trainers and referees. His conditioning has been questioned and so has his work ethic.”
As it turned out, Kentucky was actually his third choice. He had previously committed—and then decommitted—from Alabama-Birmingham and Memphis.
“Before there’s discussion about him being part of our program, he has a lot of building to do. … He has a lot of growing up to do,” U.S. Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said via USA Today.
The remarks hurt Cousins’ feelings.
“I asked him how I was being immature,” Cousins said in the same article. “He never really gave me an answer. He just said it was his opinion.”
Does that mean the opinion of the 72-year-old Colangelo, who has owned the Phoenix Suns and the Arizona Diamondbacks, and has been with USA Basketball since Cousins was in eighth grade, doesn’t count as an answer?
“I kind of took offense to it,” Cousins told USA Today. “For him to say that, it was kind of messed up.”
Tying for the NBA lead with 12 technical fouls, now that’s kind of messed up. Gaining a reputation as an ill-tempered and lackadaisical player. That’s messed up.
There’s not a doubt Cousins is a talented basketball player who can rebound and score with the best of them. A lot of his reputation develops through his unwillingness to cooperate with coaches, officials and other players.
If Cousins ever helps the Kings into the playoffs, he can start rebuilding his image. If he can stay quiet enough and just do his job, his image will start to look polished. If he can help the Kings make a deep run into the playoffs, maybe there’s no need for tantrums and he’ll start looking like a professional.
Until then, to paraphrase USA Coach Mike Krzyzewski, hopefully playing with the best in the game will have a positive effect on Cousins.
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