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DeMarcus Cousins ‘visibly shaken’ by news Mason Plumlee may beat him out of spot on USA Basketball roster

Aug 3, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT

Team USA Showcase Getty Images

DeMarcus Cousins is in his third year participating in USA Basketball mini-camps during the summer, but he entered the program with somewhat of a credibility deficit.

Jerry Colangelo and Mike Krzyzewski treat USA Basketball beyond seriously, and they demand an extreme level of commitment and character from the players they allow to eventually be named to one of the rosters.

Cousins has had a consistent series of what we’ll call behavioral issues ever since coming into the league, and he hasn’t really shown any signs that any of it is truly in his permanent past. There are still on-court incidents, and those that extend into the stands; none of that can happen in international competition, and it simply won’t be tolerated on Colangelo’s watch.

By all accounts, Cousins has been nothing but a hard worker at USA camp this year and last, but those in charge are going to want to see a long-term pattern of positive behavior to convince them that adding him to the roster is going to be the right decision.

Somewhat ironically, the way Cousins has performed from a pure basketball standpoint is what may keep him off of this summer’s team that will compete for the FIBA World Cup. And upon learning that he may be beaten out for a spot by Mason Plumlee, he predictably wasn’t at all pleased.

From Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee:

At this point, Cousins’ friend Andrew Rogers joins us and displays tweets from ESPN and other news outlets indicating that Colangelo and Krzyzewski favored Plumlee over Cousins. My sources suggested that the competition among Cousins, Drummond and Plumlee remained wide open and that Friday’s scrimmage and ensuing exhibitions would be crucial. Yet when he saw the tweets, Cousins appeared visibly shaken.

Q: Have you heard anything about your chances?

A: Nothing. They don’t really tell us much. I saw Coach K in the elevator, but we just chatted.

Q: How disappointed would you be if you don’t make the team?

A: I would be crushed. Everyone knows how much I want to do this. This is my third year here (two with Select Team), and I don’t run from any challenge. I would be crushed, but I’m not a quitter. I would come back and try again.

This interview was conducted before Friday night’s scrimmage, where Plumlee outplayed Cousins on the defensive end of the floor. Team USA has plenty of offensive talent, but they need active bigs interested in focusing their efforts on defense — something that Cousins hasn’t proved consistently capable of this summer.

He did mention in the interview that he’s playing through a leg injury, which could be affecting his ability to play the game while giving maximum effort on both ends of the floor. And, it isn’t a foregone conclusion that Cousins will in fact be left off the roster. But if that’s the way the team decides to go this time around, Cousins will simply need to stay positive and continue to work hard within the USA Basketball system to prove he belongs — and eliminating the types of needless incidents he’s become known for during the upcoming NBA season probably would only help those chances.

[via Nets Daily]

  1. money2long - Aug 3, 2014 at 12:35 PM

    Never quit.

  2. tv63 - Aug 3, 2014 at 12:38 PM

    Pretty cheap pic you insensitive idiots. This pic was of him visibly upset by PAUL GEORGE injury NOT him not making the team. What the hell is wrong with you reporters ? Is it so much to ask you have some integrity & be truthful?

    • goraidersgospurs - Aug 3, 2014 at 12:50 PM

      Surprise they let your comment appear, Facts tho!!!

    • antistratfordian - Aug 3, 2014 at 3:35 PM

      That isn’t true. That pic was from when Jen Selter’s a– walked in the arena.

      • ProBasketballPundit - Aug 3, 2014 at 6:17 PM

        Can’t imagine why you’re getting down-thumbs. I googled Jen Selter and whew I’m glad I did.

      • tv63 - Aug 3, 2014 at 6:49 PM

        3 rd pic down. CHeck and check mate . This is clearly his pic from Paul George injury. Do you ever pay attention?

      • antistratfordian - Aug 3, 2014 at 9:12 PM


        Are you serious right now?

      • patfic5 - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:01 PM

        I Googled her too…..keep that.

  3. sportsfan18 - Aug 3, 2014 at 12:44 PM

    It’s obvious Cousins has more talent than Plumlee.

    But, for those that care about putting together a team, their differences matter.

    A true team isn’t just the 12 or 15 best players and athletes.

    A TEAM has roles and players need to be able to do the roles on that team. Taking 12 to 15 superstars and making some of them role players is tough.

    We all know that a team that truly plays well together has beaten many a team over the years in many sports comprised of great players who didn’t play as a team.

    The point is NOT whether Cousins is better than Plumlee because he is.

    It’s about fit on this TEAM.

    • casualcommenter - Aug 3, 2014 at 12:51 PM


      Cousins is the best post player among the true bigs available, but Coach K wants to run an open, spread the floor style of offense featuring a lot of 3 point shooting and players cutting to the rim from the perimeter, not tossing the ball to a low-post big and letting him work.

      So he needs bigs willing to set picks, play good defense against fellow bigs like Marc Gasol, and at times be happy with not getting many scoring opportunities if other players like Durant and Curry are doing well.

      Demarcus Cousins is clearly more talented than Plumlee, but you could argue that Plumlee fits the job description better.

    • antistratfordian - Aug 3, 2014 at 4:03 PM

      I don’t know… I think it’s a cop out of they don’t go with Cousins. Go with the clearly more talented player and coach him into the player you need him to be – make him a better player – that’s what coaches are paid to do. But just because they may not go with Cousins doesn’t mean it’s the right decision.

      • oasis511 - Aug 3, 2014 at 6:47 PM

        They HAVE been working with Cousins – he has been in the USA camps for three years. There’s only so much they can do, and completely transforming a player in the middle of a summer camp or a quick tournament isn’t going to happen. Cousins isn’t suddenly going to turn into a defensive stopper, and he’s not suddenly going to be “coached” into losing 20 pounds and running the floor better. He is who he is. They have him for a couple months each summer. The responsibility of becoming a better, more well-rounded player should always be on the players during the season and offseason. Through four years, Cousins has improved his strengths, but his weaknesses are still his weaknesses.

        In scrimmage last week, there was a sequence in which Cousins committed a turnover, and instead of running back on defense, he turned around and punched the stanchion. That kind of behavior is also a reason they might not take him.

      • antistratfordian - Aug 3, 2014 at 9:11 PM

        “Cousins isn’t suddenly going to turn into a defensive stopper, and he’s not suddenly going to be “coached” into losing 20 pounds and running the floor better. He is who he is.”

        I don’t believe that. Not at his age. He’s not an old dog, he can learn new tricks. That’s a cop out.

        Cousins behavior is not out of the ordinary for some of the other players Team USA has run with. So that’s a poor excuse.

    • justtoldya - Aug 3, 2014 at 9:13 PM

      You can have a great team with great players and role players but they still wouldn’t beat dream team 1 which consist of the best players at their position at the time minus issah thomas and laettner. The team had multiple hof and the best player that ever played. I doubt the team they come up with can beat that team.

  4. norcaldeportes - Aug 3, 2014 at 12:51 PM

    Pretty misleading headline & picture. The quotes by Cousins appear to be about him reacting maturely & competitively, as he should, to this situation. Also interesting that this is via Nets Daily who may have a reason to mislead and try to paint a different picture.

  5. casualcommenter - Aug 3, 2014 at 12:59 PM

    Personally, I’d bring along both Cousins and Plumlee, since the US roster arguably has “too many” elite guards/wings.

    By that I mean, they have a ton of perimeter guys who can each capably play 30+ mins, so there’s no reason to be 4 deep at each of those positions at the expense of the frontline.

    • casualcommenter - Aug 3, 2014 at 1:11 PM

      In other words, if USA brings Curry, Rose, Wall, Lillard, Irving, Harden, AND Thompson as their guard rotation, there simply isn’t enough minutes to go around since I would trust each one of those guys with at least 30 minutes in a game.

      Meanwhile, Spain’s strategy will be to try to get our bigs in foul trouble by feedin both Gasols in the post, so I would bring at least 4 true bigs. Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, Mason Plumlee, and Kenneth Faried.

      I really like Andre Drummond, but his inability to hit jumpers limits his effectiveness against zone defenses, and his inability to hit free throws makes him a liability in close games. The 4 bigs I chose all shoot at least 62% from the free throw line, while Drummond shoots just 41%.

      • au1978 - Aug 3, 2014 at 6:03 PM

        I agre with those 4 bigs. Drummond looked pretty pathetic the other night.

  6. andreboy1 - Aug 3, 2014 at 1:14 PM

    Plumlee wouldn’t even be on the team if he didn’t play for Duke. Both Drummond and Cousins should make it over Plumlee. They talk about energy and defense and that is exactly what Drummon brings to the team while Boogie is an offensive player. If they drop both Boggie and Drummond then you know that Coach K= The Rat is just choosing one of his guys.

    • jimb25 - Aug 3, 2014 at 2:07 PM

      Are you stupid? If you watched the scrimmage, Plumlee outran and outdefended Cousins. And Plumlee is jsut the better fit for the team.

      • brianspider - Aug 3, 2014 at 6:55 PM

        Umm, did you watch the game? It wasn’t perfect but Cousins had one of the best performances of anyone in the entire scrimmage. Double double.

    • kingghidora - Aug 4, 2014 at 9:55 PM

      Bingo! This is nothing but a pure homer move. That sucks beyond belief. He isn’t the coach of the Duke team in international play. Cousins is the BEST center in the league bar none and putting a lame Duke player on the team instead of him would be nothing short of criminal. He could easily get the team beaten by making a move like this. Let’s compare. 7.4 ppg and 4.4 rpg for Plumlee – 22.7 ppg and 11.7 rpg for Cousins. Yep. Take the Duckie. Make the lame move. Let everyone know what a total jerk you are K.

  7. calicokiller49 - Aug 3, 2014 at 1:22 PM

    coach k is not that stupid. if he picks Plummer over cousins, that would be a sham

    • sportsfan18 - Aug 3, 2014 at 1:33 PM

      cousins is clearly more talented

      teams need role players though

      a team that plays as a team beats a team of stars that don’t play as a team

      Coach K isn’t smart. he’s trying to build a TEAM that includes role players.

      Coach K is NOT simply picking the 15 most talented players without regard to how the team would be constructed.

      • Hard On For Harden - Aug 3, 2014 at 5:13 PM

        We get it, you’ve made your point. We are fully aware of the concept of role players, team chemistry, complementing skill sets etc. Stop talking down like everyone’s a six year old with an undeveloped mind.

      • sportsfan18 - Aug 3, 2014 at 5:35 PM


        I was replying to a guy that didn’t get it.

        so glad you did though.

        and I made a typo ya’ll, sorry about that, meant to say Coach K isn’t stupid.

      • sportsfan18 - Aug 3, 2014 at 5:37 PM


        you put people down regularly on here

        so for you to say I should stop talking down to everyone is hypocritical.

        pot meet kettle

      • justtoldya - Aug 3, 2014 at 9:16 PM

        Picking the best talent worked for dream team 1.

    • shanelsweet - Aug 3, 2014 at 1:37 PM

      He’s auditioning to represent the USA in international competition. Just last February, the NBA suspended him one game for a punch to the stomach of Patrick Beverley and verbally abusing a game official. I trust Coach K to make the right choice.

      • muhangis - Aug 4, 2014 at 3:51 AM

        He got suspended for one game? You know alot of ppl want to punch Patrick Beverly.

        Hmm anyway.. seems like he’s got a ways to go to match Dwyane Wade (for poor sportsmanship incidents)

    • bigmeechy74 - Aug 3, 2014 at 3:44 PM

      good ol’ plummer

  8. hojo20 - Aug 3, 2014 at 1:26 PM

    It’s all abot Duke. Coach K would pick Wojo over Chris Paul if he had the choice.

    • sportsfan18 - Aug 3, 2014 at 1:36 PM


      If that’s what you think then you miss what happens in the world all the time.

      Bobby Knight chose Steve Alford over one John Stockton on the 1984 Olympic team.

      Many folks hire friends, family and who they know rather than others who are more deserving.

      It happens in places we all work and it happens on Olympic teams too (like Bobby choosing Alford).

      It will happen again too.

      So, since it has happened and happens a lot everywhere and will continue happening in the future, HOW can it be all about Duke?

      It’s people and human nature, not Duke University.

      You probably work for your dad, or grandpa and yet you’re saying this…

      • muhangis - Aug 4, 2014 at 3:13 AM

        Umm sounds like you are agreeing with him. Therefore, don’t understand the anger?

      • kingghidora - Aug 4, 2014 at 9:57 PM

        Are you saying it’s a good thing to cheat people out of their due? YOU probably work for your dad.

  9. chris3141084 - Aug 3, 2014 at 2:05 PM

    Clearly nepotism.

  10. dhragonn - Aug 3, 2014 at 2:38 PM

    Ironic Plumlee is a Duke Blue a Devil…I doubt it

    • longtallsam - Aug 3, 2014 at 3:28 PM

      You idiots that a saying it would be a sham to leave off Cousins, aren’t looking at the big picture. One, we don’t need Cousins doing something stupid and providing fodder for the USA haters. Two, it has been widely reported that Plumlee has outplayed Cousins in practice. Three, do you really think Coach K won’t pick the players he feels will make the strongest team? Really??

      • campcouch - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:05 PM

        Did you forget about one Charles Barkley? That man introduced international hoops to the dirty work side of basketball. Elbowing Angolans in the chest, dunking on Germans, cussing out the French…and people loved it. Cousins won’t do anything nearly as rugged, so saying that he’ll do something stupid means you’ve based your bias on technical fouls and not anything done in the community.

      • muhangis - Aug 4, 2014 at 2:48 AM

        Practice?? You talkin about practice???

        WHAT ABOUT THE F**KIN GAMES ?!?! Where Cousin’s is squashin Plumlee!!

        Who sounds like an “idiot”? You have no right to be callin anyone else an *idiot

  11. ProBasketballPundit - Aug 3, 2014 at 6:49 PM

    This is straight up bullcrap. I understand DeMarcus didn’t make it last two times because of his attitude… but dude is a star now. It’s gotten to the point that he does anything that any other player could have done and he’s shown on ESPN around the clock. He said he’s not a quitter. I like his attitude.

    Coach K is just going with his dookies.

  12. uptmonsta - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:40 PM

    No comparison of these two players. Plumlee is a role player. Cousins is a go to player on the block. If Colangelo wants all angels, he should feel really warm and fuzzy accepting that bronze medal.


    A. Davis
    D. Cousins
    K. Durant
    S. Curry
    J. Harden
    K. Irving
    D. Rose
    A. Drummonds
    C. Parsons
    K. Thompson
    G. Hayward

    As I type this I’m thinking that there should be a spot left for Plumlee though. But Plumlee and his brother combined is no DeMarcus Cousins.

  13. muhangis - Aug 4, 2014 at 4:41 AM

    For those who think Cousins is a poor defensive player, I advise you to look into the proof:

    Cause I’m sick and tired of biased reporters, at some point it’s time to actually listen into the facts or carefully observe his game.

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