DeMarcus Cousins: His 2012 Team USA effort didn't impress.

Kings' Cousins gets second shot at national team

Published: Thursday, Jun. 13, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Thursday, Jun. 13, 2013 - 6:46 am

New Kings majority owner Vivek Ranadive says he wants DeMarcus Cousins known from Sacramento to India.

Cousins can bolster his chances at international stardom next month with a strong showing – and a good second impression – at the USA Men's Basketball minicamp in Las Vegas.

Cousins is one of 27 players to accept an invitation to take part in workouts July 22-25 in front of Team USA officials who select players for Olympic and international competition.

The group is a collection of some of the best young Americans in the NBA, including the past two NBA Rookies of the Year (Damian Lillard, Kyrie Irving) and All-Star Jrue Holiday.

Former Oak Ridge High School and Cal star Ryan Anderson is among those invited.

"The majority of these players have prior USA Basketball experience, including 10 members of last summer's USA Select Team that helped prepare the U.S. Olympic Team," USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said in a statement. "This year is an important first step in the rebuilding of the USA National Team roster for the 2014-16 international competitions, and we believe we have compiled a roster of not only outstanding basketball talents, but individuals who will represent the United States in the manner we expect."

Cousins was a member of the Select Team last summer that worked out and scrimmaged with the U.S. Olympic team. He believed he could persuade officials to place him on the Olympic squad since there was a need for another post player with Dwight Howard out after back surgery.

But Cousins was not in the pool of eligible players, and incoming rookie Anthony Davis was added to the team. Davis was the first pick in the 2012 draft by New Orleans after winning a national championship at Kentucky.

Cousins' demeanor on the court earned praise from Kobe Bryant, but Colangelo was not impressed. Colangelo said Cousins was immature. At the end of the Select Team's workouts with the Olympic team, Colangelo said Cousins was not the kind of player who would represent America "in the manner we expect."

Cousins' third NBA season didn't dispel Colangelo's assessment. He was suspended three times, twice by the league and once by the team. He was benched for a game late in the season after yelling at coach Keith Smart after fouling out of a game.

But Cousins' talent has never been in doubt. Even in a season that was below his expectations, Cousins averaged 17.1 points and 9.9 rebounds.

Cousins now has a second chance to make a positive impression on Colangelo.

"This is an important opportunity for each (player) because we will be evaluating which players will continue to be involved in future USA National Team training camps and teams," Colangelo said. "… I'm sure it will not be much different this time around, and some of the players involved in this minicamp will be members of upcoming USA National teams."

Cousins did not return repeated calls seeking comment.

Draft workout – The Kings will host Indiana center Cody Zeller for an individual workout today at the team's practice facility.

Zeller (7-foot, 230 pounds) is one of the top big men available in the upcoming draft. He averaged 16.5 points and 8.1 rebounds for the Hoosiers.

Zeller is the second prospect to have an individual workout for the Kings. The other was Michigan guard Trey Burke.

Drafting a center doesn't seem logical considering the Kings already have Cousins. But whomever the Kings eventually hire as general manager might go with the "best player available" philosophy, and Zeller could be that player if available.

The Kings are expected to meet with Denver assistant vice president of basketball operations Pete D'Alessandro in the coming days about the GM vacancy.

HEADED TO VEGAS

The 27 players invited to participate in the Team USA men's basketball minicamp July 22-25 in Las Vegas:

• Ryan Anderson, New Orleans

• Harrison Barnes, Golden State

• Bradley Beal, Washington

• Mike Conley, Memphis

• DeMarcus Cousins, Kings

• Anthony Davis, New Orleans

• DeMar DeRozan, Toronto

• Andre Drummond, Detroit

• Kenneth Faried, Denver

• Derrick Favors, Utah

• Paul George, Indiana

• Taj Gibson, Chicago

• Gordon Hayward, Utah

• Jrue Holiday, Philadelphia

• Kyrie Irving, Cleveland

• DeAndre Jordan, L.A. Clippers

• Ty Lawson, Denver

• Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio

• Damian Lillard, Portland

• Greg Monroe, Detroit

• Chandler Parsons, Houston

• Larry Sanders, Milwaukee

• Klay Thompson, Golden State

• Dion Waiters, Cleveland

• Kemba Walker, Charlotte

• John Wall, Washington

• Tyler Zeller, Cleveland

Follow The Bee's Jason Jones on Twitter @mr_jasonjones and read more about the team at www.sacbee.com/kings.

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