Hector Amezcua / hamezcua@sacbee.com

Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) had a smile for an official in the second half of the Kings 95-94 victory against the Wizards on January 16, 2013 at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, California.

Cousins mum on Kings' new regime

Published: Wednesday, Jun. 19, 2013 - 6:11 pm
Last Modified: Tuesday, Sep. 3, 2013 - 5:38 pm

The new Kings majority owner, Vivek Ranadive, has said he wants to make DeMarcus Cousins an international superstar.

New Kings coach Michael Malone said despite run-ins with previous coaches, announcers and players, Cousins should be the "cornerstone" of the franchise.

New Kings general manager Pete D'Alessandro said of Cousins: "He's an unbelievable talent. I can't speak more highly about him as a player. I will be getting in touch with him, for sure. He's unbelievable. He's a very important part of what we're looking to do."

So how does Cousins feel about the Kings' new regime?

There was a pause, followed by a "no comment" and a chuckle from the 22-year-old center, who's entering his fourth season in the NBA.

Cousins, who usually has a lot to say, is back in Sacramento this week, hosting the DeMarcus Cousins Elite Skills Camp for youths that began Wednesday and ends Friday.

The smile on his face and the rolling of his eyes showed how hard it is for Cousins to play the silent role. But he has to.

His agent, Dan Fegan, has instructed Cousins not to speak on anything relating to the Kings team, management or ownership.

Cousins is eligible for a contract extension this summer, and Fegan wants a maximum deal for his client with the threat of a trade demand looming if a deal isn't reached.

So even with all the kind words thrown his way, Cousins is keeping quiet about the Kings. Cousins did post a congratulatory Twitter message to the city of Sacramento and Mayor Kevin Johnson once it became official the Kings would not relocate to Seattle.

While mum on the Kings, Cousins was glad to discuss his camp, his offseason workouts and his invitation to the USA Basketball minicamp next month in Las Vegas.

There were 110 youngsters ages 7-15 at the camp held at Sacramento High School. Seventy of them were there without having to pay the $149 registration fee because Cousins didn't want to leave kids out who couldn't afford it.

Cousins already hosted a camp in Kentucky and said he used "spots that I'm based in," in determining where to hold camps.

"That's the reason I picked those spots," Cousins said. "Just gives the kids a chance to learn something about basketball. When I was a kid, I wish I could have had the opportunity to be at a camp with NBA players. So just to give back."

Cousins might be the tallest person in the gym, but that didn't stop him from getting down to the campers' level.

So if that meant joining a dribbling drill or demonstrating a jump stop and pivot, Cousins was all in.

"I'm still a kid myself," Cousins said. "Just coming here and being around all the kids is a lot of fun."

Cousins also is looking forward to participating in Team USA's minicamp July 22-25 in Las Vegas.

"It's a huge honor just to have a chance to play for the USA team," Cousins said. "Just go in there, play hard and make my name there. That's all I'm trying to do."

Cousins said he has no issues with USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo, who called the center immature last year when Cousins was part of the Team USA Select team that scrimmaged against Team USA before the London Olympics.

Cousins later sought out Colangelo to ask what he'd done that was immature.

"It's not going to bother me at all," Cousins said. "He gave me another chance to come in and prove myself."

Meanwhile, Cousins said his preparations for the 2013-14 season are going well.

He averaged 17.1 points and 9.9 rebounds in his third season. His shooting percentage improved to 46.5 percent, but his scoring and rebounding were down from career highs of 18.1 points and 11 rebounds in the 2011-12 season.

"I'm just working on my all-around game," Cousins said. "Working on my body, working on my conditioning. Trying to come back better for the next season."

Video: Cousins back in town but doesn't talk about team or new owners

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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