Get an inside look at DeMarcus Cousins’ successful trip to All-Star Weekend in Orlando. Plus, get reaction from fellow young stars on the Kings center’s tremendous potential.
After tying LeBron James for the fourth-highest point total (33) in NBA All-Star Rookie-Sophomore game history last year, to go along with a game-high 14 rebounds and three steals, DeMarcus Cousins once again showcased his exquisite talent among the League’s most talented young players at Amway Center Friday night.
The Kings big man finished with another double-double, tallying 18 points, a game-high-tying 11 rebounds and three assists to help lead Team Chuck to a 146-133 victory over Team Shaq.
“I came out with a ‘W,’ so I’m good,” No. 15 said after the game. “I’m undefeated (at NBA All-Star Weekend).”
While Cousins joked the event is better suited for guards – due to its fast-paced and open-court play – the 6-foot-11 center scored 11 points on a perfect 5-of-5 from the field during the opening five minutes of the game, throwing down numerous rim-rocking dunks off alley-oop passes.
“I was just running, and they were finding me,” he said.
“It’s a lot of fun – a great experience, a great atmosphere. I enjoyed it, and hopefully I can continue to be a part of it.”
The Alabama native is looking forward to participating in the mid-season classic festivities next season – though, as a member of the Western Conference All-Star team.
“I’m past the baby stage,” he said with a grin. “Hopefully I can be on the big stage.”
After taking a look at his impressive 2011-12 output, the Sacramento center appears well on his way to stuffing the stat sheet with All-Star-worthy credentials.
At the halfway point of the season, the multifaceted big man, who ranks among the top-five players in the League in every rebounding-rate category, joins Orlando Magic All-Star Dwight Howard as the only other player currently averaging more than 15 points (16.4), 10 rebounds (11.3), one steal (1.2) and one block (1.2) per game. Additionally, Cousins places second among all sophomores in rebounds per game and double-doubles (20), which ranks fifth in the NBA and most by any Kings player over the first 33 games since Chris Webber in 2000-01.
Cleveland Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson has certainly taken notice of the Kentucky product’s top-level play.
“If you look at his numbers right now, he could’ve been an All-Star this year,” said Thompson. “He’s a big body, he’s very talented and skilled – he has all the talents to be an All-Star. I wouldn’t be surprised if he plays in the All-Star Game next year.”
Cousins’ Team Chuck teammate and Philadelphia 76ers guard Evan Turner, who threw several lobs to the Kings big man throughout the night, shared a similar assessment.
“DeMarcus is a legit player. Obviously, he’s going to be a dominant force for a long time,” said Turner. “I think just the things he can do at his size – how confident he is – are what make him so successful.”
Charlotte Bobcats guard Kemba Walker, who has known Cousins since high school, has been taken aback by the strides Cousins has made as a second-year pro.
“DeMarcus is a beast. He played really well,” said Walker. “He’s really dominant down low, and he’s a great player. He’ll definitely be one of the best players in the future.”
Hall of Famer and NBA on TNT analyst Charles Barkley, who was Cousins’ general manager in the Rising Stars Challenge, has been impressed by No. 15’s continued improvement and believes the Kings star could develop into one of the best big men in the NBA.
“I’ll say this again – DeMarcus Cousins is a scary talent,” said the 11-time All-Star. “He’s got so much physical talent.”
After a fun and eventful day in Orlando, Cousins now has his sights set on carrying the momentum into a positive second half for Sacramento.
“We have a lot of potential. We have the right pieces,” he said. “We’ve just got to keep growing as a group and the sky is the limit for us.”
Stay current with Kings.com/as12 for continuing all-access Kings coverage from All-Star Weekend. Plus, check back soon for a behind-the-scenes video of Cousins’ busy Friday in the Sunshine State.