LAS VEGAS – DeMarcus Cousins has everything USA Basketball is looking for in a big man.
He has the size and strength to be an imposing presence in the paint on a roster that is lacking in the frontcourt. He also has the shooting touch and passing skills to make him a perfect fit in international play and in coach Mike Krzyzewski’s system.
The best-case scenario for this young American team going forward would be to have Cousins emerge as a future building block and reliable contributor to a team that will compete for the World Cup in Spain next summer. And the best-case scenario for Cousins would be to get the kind of structure and guidance that Krzyzewski can provide to a 22-year-old who has had precious little of either during a volatile first three seasons in the NBA.
“I believe I mature after every season,” Cousins said after working out with 27 other young players at a USA Basketball minicamp on the UNLV campus. “I believe people forget I am just 22.”
The Sacramento Kings drafted Cousins fifth overall in 2010, and he’s averaged nearly a double-double – 16.3 points, 9.8 rebounds – in three seasons, but has also gained a hot-head reputation during his time in Sacramento.
The only player with Olympic experience at the camp is New Orleans forward Anthony Davis. With no competition to prepare for this summer, Krzyzewski is using this week to identify and develop some of the country’s younger talent.