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.
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