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Team USA hopes Cousins grows into Olympian
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On July 22, 2013 @ 9:54 pm In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
LAS VEGAS — During a USA Basketball scrimmage on Monday, DeMarcus Cousins fell to the floor after getting hit on his knee by an inadvertent knee from another player.
“I’m too old to be hitting the floor like that,” Cousins said, joking.
Hidden in the sentiment is this: Cousins is not old at all. The Sacramento Kings center will turn 23 on Aug. 13 and just finished his third NBA season.
Age alone isn’t a reason to absolve Cousins of some past maturity issues, but it is reason enough for USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo to give Cousins another chance with Team USA.
“Look, everybody’s expecting him because of his physical body to be a 29 year old. He’s not. You see him mature right before your eyes,” John Calipari, his coach for one season at Kentucky, said after USA Basketball’s first practice on Monday. “He’s going to be fine.”
Cousins is one of 28 players at the camp, which is the first step in preparation for next summer’s FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain. Cousins said he is thankful for the opportunity after clashing with Colangelo last summer during the Olympic team’s pre-London Games training camp.
“I’m glad I had a chance to come back,” Cousins said. “I’m going to make the best of opportunity and hopefully it comes out well.”
Last summer, Cousins played on the U.S. select team, a group of young NBA players who practiced against the Olympic team. Cousins was one of the best players on the floor, but his aggressive style and zeal to get noticed didn’t sit well. Colangelo said Cousins “needs to mature as a player and as a person.” Both said Monday the dispute was overblown.
“I’ve been around the game a long time,” Colangelo said. “Things happen. You set them aside, you bury these things and you move on. It was overplayed last summer for sure, but that’s last year. I never I had a doubt I’d bring him back if he deserved to come back.
“He’s doing fine. He came in with a very positive attitude. He looks in very good shape and he’s working very hard here. … [For more on Team USA hopes DeMarcus Cousins grows up into Olympian, click here.]
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