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  • JULIE JACOBSON / Associated Press

    DeMarcus Cousins of the Kings shoots over Tyler Zeller of the Cleveland Cavaliers in Thursday's game. Cousins had six points and seven rebounds for the Blue Team in a 128-106 loss.

  • JULIE JACOBSON / Associated Press

    Derrick Favors (37) tries to stop Kyrie Irving from getting to the hoop. Irving had 23 points.

No controversy for Kings' Cousins in time with Team USA

Published: Friday, Jul. 26, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Friday, Jul. 26, 2013 - 11:48 am

LAS VEGAS – The doubts and concerns about DeMarcus Cousins rarely have to do with his talent.

Everyone is watching Cousins' demeanor. His interactions with teammates and officials are always scrutinized.

Perhaps that's why there hasn't been much said this week with Team USA.

The Kings' center finished up four days on the court with Team USA with six points and tied a team high with seven rebounds in the 2013 USA Basketball Showcase at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Cousins' Blue Team lost 128-106 to the White Team that was led by Cleveland point guard Kyrie Irving, who had 23 points and seven assists.

"It was a fun experience," Cousins said. "It was fun playing with a lot of talented players."

Cousins played 16 minutes off the bench, but there was no griping. Cousins smiled when told he had the same number of rebounds as teammate Anthony Davis, who played 27 minutes.

Cousins said not starting or playing the second-fewest minutes on his team wasn't a bother, and the overall experience was still positive.

"I'm not used to that, but it's like that in these types of games," Cousins said. "There are more guards than bigs, so you have to get in the rotation. Overall it was fun, and I had fun."

The experience is one the Kings hope benefits Cousins as a player and as the leader the team wants him to be.

Team USA was the latest part of that development in an important summer for Cousins as he enters his fourth season.

The Kings will be meeting with Cousins' agent, Dan Fegan, in the near future about a possible new contract.

Cousins is eligible for a contract extension that could net him about $80 million over five years.

Kings general manager Pete D'Alessandro believes this week's environment will only help Cousins improve.

"I think to put a young player in this situation with this level of talent, I think that's a contagious thing and that's a thing you want your young guys around," D'Alessandro said. "… I think great players, they want to be around great players. And that's what DeMarcus aspires to be as well."

Cousins was on the select team that practiced against the national team last summer before the Olympics.

USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said Cousins still needed to mature last year, comments Colangelo and Cousins said were blown out of proportion.

There was no mention of maturity issues this week.

"I think Cousins came in with a very good attitude," Colangelo said. "He worked very hard, his work ethic was great. So he just has to continue to mature and grow as a player, and we'll make those decisions in the near future."

Legendary Georgetown coach John Thompson has gotten to know Cousins, who works out a lot in Washington, D.C., during part of the offseason.

Thompson, who coached several good centers, including Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo, is an admirer of Cousins' skills.

He just wants Cousins to be wary of his attitude holding him back.

Cousins admits he needs to be a better communicator with teammates.

"I love Cousins," Thompson said. "Cousins has got to be very careful that he doesn't let his attitude interfere with his ability, and I told him that when he was hanging around Washington, because I think he is a good and very talented player.

"And everybody is not going to confront him that coaches to get him to do the things he needs to do. But I think he's getting better."

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

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Jason Jones



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