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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

DeMarcus Cousins ‘would be crushed’ if he didn’t make Team USA

DeMarcus CousinsDeMarcus Cousins is in his third year playing with USA Basketball, and the Sacramento Kings big man says he “would be crushed” if he didn’t make Team USA this time.

Cousins is competing with Andre Drummond and Mason Plumlee for a spot on the team as one of the big men. The competition seems to be open, though some reports say Coach K favors his former player — Plumlee — over the other two.

The Sacramento Bee’s Ailene Voisin asked Cousins about that during a long Q&A with the Kings star:

Have you heard anything about your chances?

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

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

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.

It would definitely come as a shock if Plumlee made the team over Cousins, but there could be a few reasons for that. Coach K might like his former college player because of his familiarity with the defensive schemes, and there have been reports about Cousins not working hard enough or sometimes slacking in transition/defense, which is a big no-no for Coach K.

At least Cousins does have a positive attitude about coming back to try making the team again. He also has a good attitude about improving his game. Here’s what he told Voisin about what USA Basketball wants to see him improve.

“Well, I need to be a better leader, which I’m not,” Cousins told The Bee. “I know I need to work on my defense. I’m not out there trying to let a guy score on me, but I have to get it (schemes) down pat. I need to be as smart on defense as I am on offense, learn to understand defense as well as offense. And I want to be that complete player.”

Boogie was one of the top big men in the NBA last year, so it would be a surprise if he didn’t make Team USA. But he does have areas to improve and at least seems driven to get better. This could benefit him in the long term.

Chest bump to Pro Basketball Talk

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