DeMarcus Cousins on Monday met with local media to discuss his addition to the USA Select Team, summer training and more.
Kings center DeMarcus Cousins will be adding some new threads to his basketball wardrobe this summer.
Fans used to seeing the 6-foot-11 big man in purple and black will get to see him don the red, white and blue, as Cousins will be a member of the 2012 USA Men’s Select Team – a group that will train against the 2012 USA Men’s National Team, which holds training camp July 6-12 in Las Vegas.
“I’m excited – it’s a stepping stone, it’s going to be a great experience,” said No. 15, following an offseason workout Monday at Kings Practice Facility. “I get a chance to be around some of the elite players in this league, and I plan on learning a lot from them and taking advantage of the situation.”
Cousins will be joined on the Select Team by a talented collection of rising stars who include: Kyrie Irving, John Wall, Ryan Anderson, DeJuan Blair, DeMar DeRozan, Derrick Favors, Paul George, Taj Gibson, Gordon Hayward, Kawhi Leonard, Jeremy Lin and Klay Thompson. Jay Triano and Mike Hopkins, meanwhile, have been named co-coaches of the squad.
Those the Select Team are set to face in training camp include Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Kobe Bryant, Tyson Chandler, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Rudy Gay, Eric Gordon, Blake Griffin, James Harden, Andre Iguodala, LeBron James, Kevin Love, Lamar Odom, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, Russell Westbrook and Deron Williams.
The Kings center, who ranked fourth (11.0 rpg) in the NBA in rebounding during the 2011-12 season, views the upcoming stint as a prime opportunity to improve his game, on and off the court.
“My main focus is to come back a better leader,” said Cousins. “(I want to) learn from those elite guys in this league who are already leaders on their team and just pick up habits from them.”
Cousins, who previously represented the U.S. at the Nike Hoop Summit as a high school senior in 2009, would cherish a future opportunity to be a part of the USA National Team.
“Who wouldn’t want to play for Team USA?” the Alabama native asked. “If I get the chance to do it, I’m going to do it.”
- While he is focused on using the Select Team opportunity to sharpen his leadership skills, Cousins is determined to improve all facets of his game during the offseason.
“(I’m working on) everything,” he said. “From my conditioning to my postgame to my shooting to my defense, everything.”
- The Sacramento center says watching 2012 Playoff action has pushed him to work even harder this summer, as he and his teammates strive to carry the Kings back to the postseason.
“I’m very motivated. I see some of those teams out there and I know that our team is good enough to play with those guys,” said Cousins. “We just have to come in and work and want to be there. I know it’s going to take time, but I know we can do it.”
- With Sacramento holding the fifth selection in this year’s NBA Draft, Cousins, who was chosen with the No. 5 pick in 2010, is confident the team can add an impact player.
“There are a lot of talented guys in this Draft,” he said. “It’s not really my decision on who we pick but I’m pretty sure we’ll get someone good out of it.”