DeMarcus Cousins had two days, two practices and absolutely no chance of being named to the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team that was announced Saturday.
He knew that. We all knew that. But he's big, he's improving, he's only 22. He'll recover.
"You don't know what an experience like this will do," Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski said in an early evening teleconference call from the team's training headquarters in Las Vegas. "You hope it will open their eyes. So his (Cousins') time here, playing in this culture, sometimes can have a positive change. It indoctrinates them (young players), gets them accustomed to playing for their country."
The additions of Blake Griffin, Andre Iguodala and James Harden solidify the USA's game plan for London. Speed and quickness. Length and athleticism. Versatility and maturity. Partly because Dwight Howard, LaMarcus Aldridge and Chris Bosh were unavailable because of injuries, this will not be a big man's game.
Tyson Chandler is the only center on the team not that this is a complete downer. Like a lot of folks who observed Miami's romp to the NBA championship, longtime USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo seems to have Heat on the brain. LeBron James and his teammates rebounded and defended. They ran and dunked. They moved the ball and shot threes at an almost ridiculous rate.
"We have a team that is much more mature than in (the 2008 Beijing Games)," Colangelo said during a news conference emceed impressively by Kings public address announcer Scott Moak. "I think we're deeper. We think we're better. We have continuity with Coach K and his staff. We're kind of a seasoned group of international players."
The roster once again features superstars James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant, and includes Russell Westbrook, Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Kevin Love and only one famous ball-stopper: Carmelo Anthony.
Overall No. 1 draft choice Anthony Davis was a late addition to the list of 15 finalists, but his recent ankle injury limited his participation. He was omitted from his first Olympics team Saturday, as were veterans Eric Gordon and Rudy Gay.
Cousins shouldn't feel too bad, though. That's a lot of quality sweat inside one gym. And while he accepted an invitation to compete for the select team in hopes of impressing his way onto the national team, he muscled his way into the conversation.
Impressed with the way Cousins utilized his 6-foot-11, 270-pound frame to pound and foul and elbow with impunity during Friday's scrimmage, Bryant lobbied hard for his inclusion on the final roster. So did James.
But it was never going to happen. His significant improvement last season and endorsements from respected peers notwithstanding, Cousins still has some political stroking to do before USAB officials start measuring him for a Team USA jersey. Those familiar frowns? Those head shakes? The glares at the referees? The occasional flare-up followed by an ill-advised physical response?
USAB officials catch a hint of animated behavior, and they immediately look the other way.
Twenty years later, they still remember that before Charles Barkley became the beloved American in Barcelona drinks were on him during his nightly treks down the famed Avenue Las Ramblas his elbow to the chest of Angola's Herlander Coimbra in the opener threatened the Dream Team's reputation.
"He (Cousins) has a big body and a long way to go," Colangelo added. "The first thing I would suggest, he needs to gain an appreciation for the game and the players who preceded him.
"Show respect to players, and you get respect back. He needs to mature as a person, as a player if he's going to have an outstanding NBA career. So before discussing him being part of our program, he has a lot of building to do."
He knows that. We know that. It's all about small steps for the big guy.