I suppose it would be too much to expect the Kings’ DeMarcus Cousins to keep his mouth shut and do the job he was unfortunately selected to do: help the U.S. men’s basketball team prepare for the Olympics.
No, that wouldn’t be the DeMarcus Cousins we have come to know in Sacramento, the classless young man who was the face of negativity and petulance on a team that had a record of 22 wins and 44 losses in the NBA last season, the self-promoter who projected an air of entitlement as he loafed down the court on defense.
The 6-foot-10, 270-pound Cousins deigned to accept a spot on the Select Team after failing to win a spot on the Team USA roster. Although he was an unlikely choice based on talent and reputation, Cousins seemed to think he was entitled to a spot on the Olympic team and suggested that he might decline a spot on the Select Team if he was not selected.
“All indications were that the Kings second-year center planned to accept,” Bee columnist Ailene Voisin wrote May 1. “But if, say, Indiana’s Roy Hibbert was added to the list of Olympic finalists ahead of Cousins? That would give him pause. That would really tick him off. While Hibbert has an additional year of NBA experience, the Kings second-year center had a terrific sophomore season and is widely regarded as the better player.”
This dissing of a rival for a coveted spot came as Cousins, according to Voisin, was trying to overcome his image as “a troublesome teammate and negative locker room presence.”
This week, Cousins was on the front of the Bee’s sports page with a pronouncement that he planned to use the Select Team’s practice sessions with Team USA in Las Vegas as a stage to show that he belongs on the U.S. team.
“I’m not going there just to practice,” Cousins declared at a meeting with Sacramento media Monday. “I can make that team.”
It is instructive that Cousins’ teammates on the Select Team, including former Oak Ridge High star Ryan Anderson, have kept an appropriate low profile for the training job they have been called to do.
As usual, Cousins is putting his personal ambitions ahead of the good of the team. The Select Team is supposed to help Team USA team prepare to play at its best. The coaches will want to decide what level of intensity at scrimmages is appropriate. They will want to protect key players from injury. The last thing they need is a loose cannon going all out trying to prove he belongs on the first team, a guy who could benefit from the injury of Team USA player.
Cousin’s clueless comments this week are more proof that this guy would be a terrible choice to represent the United States in international competition – now or in 2016.