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DeMarcus Cousins embracing his second chance with USA Basketball

Jul 22, 2013, 7:21 PM EDT

DeMarcus Cousins AP

LAS VEGAS — DeMarcus Cousins is a participant in a USA Basketball event for the second straight summer, but after how things turned out last year, it was by no means guaranteed that he would ever be asked back.

Cousins was a member of the USA Select team that was there for the Olympic team heading to London to practice against, and for whatever reason, the way things went down didn’t sit well with USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo.

“Show respect to players, and you get respect back,” Colangelo said at the time. “He needs to mature as a person, as a player if he’s going to have an outstanding NBA career. So 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.”

It’s not in Cousins’ nature to let criticism against him slide, a problem he continued to show even this past season when he was suspended for confronting an opponent’s broadcaster after a game during the regular season.

But he seemed to take a professional approach last year with Colangelo.

“I actually just had a conversation with (Colangelo),” Cousins said back then. “I asked him, ‘How was I being immature?’ He never really gave me an answer. I mean, I really wanted to know. I took offense to it. … It definitely bothered me.”

Cousins is back this year because despite his attitude issues, he has the talent to compte with the game’s best. And it seems as though the initial remarks weren’t that big of a deal in either party’s eyes.

“I mean, the whole thing was blown out of proportion,” Cousins said Monday at Team USA mini-camp in Las Vegas. “What was said between us wasn’t really as bad as it was [reported], but for [Colangelo] to set it aside and give me another chance, I’m very thankful for it.”

Colangelo echoed that sentiment when asked why he felt like Cousins deserved another invitation to be a part of USA Basketball.

“Well, primarily because there was a little bit of a misunderstanding that got out of hand with the media last year over what did transpire with him,” Colangelo said. “That was unfortunate. So 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 is deserving of a second chance.”

It’s early in the proceedings, but after the first day of practices, Colangelo seemed pleased with the effort that Cousins displayed.

“He’s done fine,” Colandelo said of Cousins. “We haven’t even had our first discussion, we’re going to have that when we get back to the hotel tonight with all the players. But he came in with a great attitude. He’s worked real hard, he had a great day today at practice, but a lot of people did.”

Cousins is happy to be back, and in the brief portion of the scrimmaging the media was allowed to view, he did seem to be playing hard, even diving on the floor near the end of a game to try to gain possession for his team by saving the ball from going out of bounds.

But lest you think Cousins has lost that edge, he maintained it when asked who his competition is for the best big man at this week’s camp.

“Nobody,” he said.

  1. dirtydavis - Jul 22, 2013 at 7:34 PM

    This guy is going to be a top 3 centers next season

    • sfsugator - Jul 22, 2013 at 8:04 PM

      If he grows up

    • money2long - Jul 22, 2013 at 8:31 PM

      watch out for well as al jefferson who i think will go beast on the bobcats. also, dwight may be healthy all season. marc gasol won’t score much, but he brings a lot of extracurricular than cousins. further, i think joakim noah was getting some crazy numbers last yr. only thing holding him back is injury. top 3 for cousins is possible, but he has competition. it’s ez for guys to make the top 3 claim becuz a lot of ppl think the centers have died. but there are some quality bigs.

      • redbaronx - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:17 PM

        @money2long – After a lot of dry years, it’s nice to see this infusion of big man talent in the NBA. I think the issue for a while was that the game has become more fluid and you can’t forearm check guards on the perimeter, and big men coming up in the last decade were thrown off by the new defensive rules. It favored athleticism.

        So now we got guys that are big, but also mobile. Noah is a great example of this! High energy, mobile AND big. I think the 5 spot is changing. You can’t be a lumbering beast because the guys at the 3 and the 4 will see you winding up and have the athleticism to come over and help D or get a block.

        With that being said, it would be nice to see a guy come up from college with some “window” backboard skills ala Tim Duncan. Old school, but effective if you’re a slower guy trying to get a shot off.

    • 00maltliquor - Jul 22, 2013 at 9:15 PM

      I feel he already was. But those character issues…sheesh! As talented as he is, I wouldn’t want him anywhere close to my team. He’s so volatile that if he played for the Clippers, he would still contaminate the Lakers locker room!

    • tbfitz21 - Jul 23, 2013 at 7:12 AM

      This guy is a loser and always will be. He’s too stupid to even realize what thug he is. If he makes the team, he will embarrass America somehow. He’s definitely not worth it. He has assault charge somewhere in his future.

  2. atthebuzzzer - Jul 22, 2013 at 7:48 PM

    Reblogged this on At The Buzzzer.

    • asimonetti88 - Jul 22, 2013 at 9:40 PM

      Good. Another site to add to my spam blocker.

      • atthebuzzzer - Jul 24, 2013 at 1:19 PM

        hey i was unaware that reblogging was bad to do im new to blogging i thought it was like retweeting a tweet on twitter not sure if you use twitter or not my mstake now that i know i wont be doing it nomore.

  3. 00maltliquor - Jul 22, 2013 at 9:17 PM

    Seriously, where do you guys come from??^^^

    • money2long - Jul 22, 2013 at 9:30 PM

      it’s almost like a virus

  4. thugzy - Jul 22, 2013 at 10:44 PM

    Yeah he has his faults (having a reputation of being immature) but he’s not anything like Dwight or Bynum. This guy is on the verge of being a star. KINGS coach Mike Malone, not WARRIORS coach PBT, might just be the man to set him straight. Last year he was snubbed by team USA giving the spot to Davis….smh

  5. norcalkingsfan - Jul 23, 2013 at 1:17 AM

    Hopefully he figures it out. The change in ownership, management, and coaching couldn’t have come at a better time. He was spiraling out of control under the despicable Maloof regime. He’s the most talented NBA player that is larger than Lebron and I would hate to see this kid never figure it out; hall of fame potential.

    • tbfitz21 - Jul 23, 2013 at 7:15 AM


  6. louhudson23 - Jul 23, 2013 at 8:21 AM

    Second chances are only slightly less rare than third chances….I hope he makes the most of it. He is clearly his own worst enemy,which is entirely curable….just pull your head out of your ass and …..voila!!!

  7. prov1x - Jul 23, 2013 at 8:25 AM

    He’s a punk. Always has been, always will be.

    • mrwhiteshadez - Jul 23, 2013 at 9:36 AM

      You’re a punk.

  8. sackings916 - Jul 25, 2013 at 10:15 PM

    I went to a game this year against the Bucks, it was halftime and we got the stat sheet. DeMarcus had 20 points, 8 rebounds, 2 steals and block in the first half alone. He then got ejected mid way through the 3rd quarter for a second tech. If he can get his head screwed on right he could completely be one of the best bigs and potentially an all star soon.

    • ttoolan - Aug 7, 2013 at 1:18 PM

      His best strategy would be to just shut up. Every game he just whines and whines and whines. The refs just get tired of it and sooner rather than later he’s gone. I don’t know why they just don’t just tell him to say nothing. It does no good just harm.

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