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Vlade Divac: DeMarcus Cousins is the “most dominant player in the whole world”

© Kyle Terada

Sacramento Kings GM Vlade Divac is not one to shy away from hyperbole. After the NBA Draft in June, Divac said former Cat and Kings draft pick Skal Labissiere was “the best player in college basketball” last season, a pretty bold claim to say the least. This week, Vlade’s at it again, telling James Ham from CSN Bay Area that DeMarcus Cousins isn’t just the best player on the Kings’ roster, he’s the most dominant player in the entire world:

“It’s a no-brainer,” Kings general manager Vlade Divac said from his courtside seat. “He’s the most dominant player in the whole world. And being from Serbia, I have to root for Serbia, but I feel bad for them. He’s going to kill them.”

So far this summer, Cousins is doing his best to back up Divac’s praise. Through three exhibition games with Team USA, DeMarcus has two double doubles and is currently second the team in scoring at 15.7 points per game and first in rebounding at 11 rebounds per game. He was dominant Tuesday night vs. China, scoring 21 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in only 19 minutes.

While LeBron James or Steph Curry would steal the title of most dominant player in the whole world during the season, maybe Vlade’s on to something; of the players competing in the Olympic games, does DeMarcus have a case for most dominant?

[CSN Bay Area]


Jersey Shore Calipari’s Thursday Morning Wakeup

Jersey Shore Calipari’s Thursday Morning Wakeup

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Believe it or not, school starts soon for many kids across the Bluegrass, so families are doing their best this week to fit in one last week of vacation. That includes the Caliparis and the Palumbos, who met up yesterday in Lavallette, New Jersey to play some mini golf. Cal reportedly won the round, but I wonder if anyone told him his shirt was inside out?

Coaix1SXEAIQfBf

They were probably too busy checking out his custom slides, which seem to be his favorite shoes of the summer:

@ISlideUSA

Between the inside out shirt, the slides, that tan, and hair that would make Pauley D proud, Cal is settling into the role of Jersey Shore dad very nicely.

Meanwhile, here’s what’s going on it Cal’s old Kentucky home…

Trae Young put UK in his top six

Young is arguably Kentucky’s most important target in the 2017 class, and last night, released his top six: Kentucky, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Washington, and Kansas. Kentucky’s considered his favorite, so no surprise there, but his comments to Rivals about the Cats were encouraging all the same.

“I love the way coach Cal goes about things. I really like that it’s about business and he puts the team in a spot to compete for a championship each year.”

Young says he has no timetable and plans to visit each of the finalists before making a decision.

President Ramsey is officially out at UofL

@M_E_Mahone

@M_E_Mahone

In case you missed all the drama last night, UofL President James Ramsey’s 13-year, scandal-ridden tenure finally ended, but, in true Ramsey fashion, he didn’t go down without a fight. After Ramsey submitted his resignation and conditions, he and the Board of Trustees negotiated for over six hours before agreeing a settlement in which he will receive a $690K payout (the amount of his salary and benefits through June 2017) and leave his role immediately. Ramsey originally wanted to stay on as interim president through June 2017, but the Board ultimately rejected that, instead naming Neville Pinto to that role.

The fact that Ramsey’s getting almost $700,000 to leave is ridiculous, but not as ridiculous as the story of him leaving the meeting, going across campus to teach a class, and showing students a scene from the movie “Teachers” in which Nick Nolte stands up for a teacher that is being forced to resign. I swear, you can’t make this stuff up.

The UK Football Kickoff Luncheon takes place in Louisville

Nick and Freddie will be there (Freddie’s actually cohosting), so check back on the site after lunch for comments from Mark Stoops, Eddie Gran, and DJ Eliot.

Devin Booker and Tyler Ulis will be in town this weekend

Booker is helping Cal host the inaugural John Calipari Shooting Camp on Saturday, and Ulis will help with the Calipari Pro Camps, which take place Monday and Tuesday and also feature Alex Poythress and Jamal Murray. Ulis is coming a few days early to host a signing tour, so if you missed getting Ulis’ autograph during his tour in the spring, now’s your chance:

ulis-signing

Did you catch the new episode of The OTT Podcast?

After a summer hiatus, I rebooted my podcast yesterday with an interview with Jennifer Maggard, wife of Freddie Maggard, who also attended the UK Women’s Football Clinic last Saturday. I went in with a lot of respect for Jen, but after listening to her describe her background in the National Guard, her ties to the UK Football program, and how she was the one to ask Freddie out (and propose!), I’m convinced she’s Superwoman.

To listen, just subscribe to “Kentucky Sports Radio” on iTunes or stream on Podbay.

I’m excited about the “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life” trailer

Considering this is a (mostly) sports website visited predominantly by males, I don’t expect many of you to share this opinion, but when the trailer for Netflix’s “Gilmore Girls” revival hit the internet yesterday, I was very excited. I maintain that the theme song/intro is one of the worst in TV history (to the point that it’s nauseatingly endearing), but I got hooked on the series last year in a serious Netflix binge. November 25 can’t come soon enough.

KSR recaps a big night at the DNC

Last night, Joe Biden, Tim Kaine, and Barack Obama addressed the Democratic National Committee. Our intrepid reporters were in the arena to take it all in, so tune in one hour from now to hear their thoughts on the speeches and the other madness going down in Philly.


DeMarcus Cousins dominates in Team USA’s rout of China

DeMarcus Cousins dominates in Team USA’s rout of China

© Kyle Terada

The Rio Olympics are almost certain to be a hot mess, but at least we can enjoy what could be DeMarcus Cousin’s moment in the spotlight. Boogie dominated in Team USA’s 107-57 rout of China last night, putting up 21 points and 11 rebounds in 19 minutes, shooting 7-8 from the field and 7-11 from the charity stripe. Through three exhibition games, DeMarcus has two double doubles and is currently second on Team USA in scoring at 15.7 points per game and first in rebounding at 11 rebounds per game.

MIN FG FGA 3P 3PA FT FTA OR DR TOT A PF ST TO BS PTS
July 22, W vs. Argentina

16:12

4

6

0

0

6

8

7

8

15

1

1

2

2

1

14

July 24, W vs. China

18:00

5

6

1

1

1

3

2

5

7

2

2

0

0

0

12

July 26, W vs. China

19:16

7

8

0

0

7

11

5

6

11

1

4

1

1

1

21

Less talking, more highlights:

Being his brother’s keeper the best way he knows how:

Making China look like a high school team:

Here’s the complete highlight reel:

Team USA is back in action Friday, when they take on Venezuela at the United Center in Chicago.


Take Your Pants for a Walk Day’s Wednesday Morning Wakeup

You know our world has gotten lazy when we have a holiday dedicated to taking pants for a walk. That’s right, today is National Take Your Pants for a Walk Day, which we’re supposed to celebrate by getting off our butts and going for a walk. We laugh, but that’s easier said than done given the recent heat and humidity, which makes something like “National Netflix Day” seem much more appealing; however, in the spirit of the day, I challenge you to get up and take your pants for a spin around the block. Just make sure you’re wearing them when you do it.

If walking isn’t your thing, it’s also National Scotch Day. Cheers. Let’s celebrate by going over today’s agenda…

Is today the day James Ramsey is out at UofL?

Because I’ve typed that sentence so many times, I’m skeptical, but the UofL Board of Trustees has another special meeting scheduled for 3:30 p.m. today to discuss Ramsey’s resignation. The Board was supposed to meet yesterday morning, but apparently Ramsey was out of the country, which is kind of a smart move for someone who’s avoiding his fate. Either he’s back, the Board is prepared to proceed without him, or the meeting will get delayed again. Smart money’s on the latter.

DeMarcus Cousins dominated in Team USA’s rout of China

Boogie put up a game-high 21 points and 11 rebounds in Team USA’s 107-57 win over China last night, numbers that are even more impressive when you note he played only 19 minutes. DeMarcus was 7-8 from the field and made 7-11 free throws in the blowout, which is Team USA’s third exhibition win of their training camp tour. I’ll have more highlights from his dominant performance on the site in a little bit, but let this alley-oop from Klay Thompson serve as a nice appetizer:

Speaking of Boogie…

Looks like things are going well in Sacramento

If you were hoping a new coach would mean less drama in Sacramento, well, wish again. Check out this quote from Kings forward Rudy Gay last night:

Well, one of them is Skal Labissiere, I can tell you that.

It’s been an extremely quiet week on the UK Basketball front

Even in the dead of summer, there’s usually something to talk about, but this week? Nada. Cal, you got anything to say?

This story about Eddie Gran’s daughter Sydney is touching

It’s been a rough few days for Eddie Gran, but this story about his daughter Sydney, who passed away just shy of her sixth birthday in 2005 from a rare disease called holoprosencephaly, puts it all in perspective. I love that they are honoring her legacy through the UK Children’s Hospital.

Things are looking downright American at the new football training center

@UKStoopsTroops

Graphics continue to go up in the new training center, including this one of Ryan Timmons (or some other player wearing the number one jersey) holding an American flag. God Bless America.

A new episode of The OTT Podcast drops

We’re nearing the end of the offseason, so I’ve rebooted my podcast, The OTT, with one heck of a special guest. Jennifer Maggard, the better half of Freddie Maggard, joins me to talk about her experience at the UK Football Women’s Clinic this past Saturday. Jen’s just as much of a football nut as Freddie, so check back later today to hear her views on the new training center, the tenor around the program, and just how many baths Freddie takes per day.

It’s Day 3 of KSR at the DNC

What stories await us today? Tune in one hour from now to find out.


Booker, Towns Tabbed as Breakout Players for 2017 Season

© Mark Zerof

© Mark Zerof

When considering the best up and coming players in the NBA, it starts and ends with former Wildcats.  That’s quite literally the case in The Sporting News’ most recent article.

TSN’s “11 Breakout Players for the 2017 Season” begins by showcasing Devin Booker, and finishes by featuring 2016’s Rookie of the Year, Karl-Anthony Towns.  Towns is an easy pick when you consider how his rookie numbers stack up to previous NBA greats.

“The only rookies besides him to average at least 18 points, 10 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game are David Robinson, Tim Duncan, Shaquille O’Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon, Alonzo Mourning, Elton Brand and Ralph Sampson — six Hall of Famers and one two-time All-Star. Of that group, O’Neal and Brand were the same age as Towns when they accomplished it.”

Booker has become a popular person in NBA circles.  When the Suns backcourt experienced injuries, he stepped in seamlessly to become the primary scorer for the second half of the season.  That carried over into play this summer during a short stint in the summer league and at Team USA camp.

TSN believes it’s just the beginning for Booker. “The sooner the Suns give him more responsibility, the better for everyone involved.”

[The Sporting News]

 


Last Year’s Cats to Host Big Blue ProCamp

Tyler+Ulis+SEC+Basketball+Tournament+Championship+ZC2zyPiZtoFl

Three Cats from last season’s basketball squad are teaming up to provide young Kentucky fans with an experience of a lifetime. What could you want more as a young Wildcat fan than meeting the players you watch sport the blue and white night in and night out? Speaking as someone who grew up a diehard UK fan, there would’ve been nothing I wanted more.

For the first two days of August, MidAmerica Sports Center in Louisville will be hosting the Kroger Unplug and Play Big Blue Basketball ProCamp in partnership with Tide presented by SunnyD with Tyler Ulis, Jamal Murray, and Alex Poythress. The camp might also be the winner of the “Longest Basketball Camp Name of All Time” contest.

Boys and girls grades 1-12 can pay $199 to participate in the two-day camp and also receive an autograph from the three players, a limited edition camp t-shirt and a camp team photo.

All three players promoted the event via their social media accounts earlier today with basically the same caption, letting Kentucky fans know they are excited to be hosting the camp.

Hosting the @kroger Big Blue ProCamp with my guys @BeMore27 & @AlexTheGreat22! BigBlueProCamp.com

A photo posted by Tyler Ulis (@tulis3) on

To learn more about the camp and even register a camper, visit the camp website here.


Picture of the Day: John Calipari and MKG in a diner in New Jersey

@mirrrkon7

Where do you go for lunch in New Jersey when you’re John Calipari and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist? Apparently, Penn Queen Diner in Pennsauken, New Jersey. Cal and MKG stopped by the diner yesterday after attending the funeral for Carol Rose, the mother of famous sports agent and longtime Calipari friend Leon Rose.

Outside of the diner, Calipari posed for another picture with MKG, whom he called “one of the hardest workers I’ve ever coached.”

Is it just me or has Cal actually lost weight? Maybe MKG’s work ethic is rubbing off on him.


Cousins Shows Off In USA Exhibition

(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

DeMarcus Cousins played well once again as Team USA took down China 106-57 in the second exhibition game before the Olympics. Boogie finished with 12 points and seven rebounds in 18 minutes.

Boogie’s night was full of highlights as China’s big men could not handle him underneath.

He was just messing with these dudes at this point. 

And the top move of the game came in the first half. 

China and the USA will meet again in the opener of the Olympics on August 6th.


Cousins Enjoying His Experiences on Team USA

(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

Nathaniel S. Butler | Getty Images

Following his double-double performance against Argentina, DeMarcus Cousins was all smiles as his teammates complimented him. For the first time since playing at Kentucky, Boogie is back on a winning team.

Cousins had 14 points and 15 rebounds in just 16 minutes during Team USA’s 1st exhibition game. The U.S. would defeat Argentina convincingly, 111-74. For the Americans, Cousins is a traditional offensive center, something their smaller lineups haven’t had in recent Olympic games. “DeMarcus is going to be a force in Rio,” teammate Klay Thompson said.

“There’s been a lot of great bigs come through this program, so I’m blessed to be in this situation,” Cousins said. “I’m not really in it to say who’s the best at what position, I’m just here to help the team win. So we’ve got one goal in mind, which is the gold, and that’s the only thing I’m focused on right now.”
Teammate Carmello Anthony talked about Cousins’ recent struggles in Sacramento and how Boogie can take this experience back home. It’s no secret that Cousins and the Kings have struggled to win games and become playoff contenders.

“DeMarcus is a different player. He’s a big who can shoot, he’s a big who can post, he’s tough, he’s a hell of a rebounder. But the most exciting thing I like about having DeMarcus out here now is he gets a chance to see how everybody else is working. Work ethic. To see him jumping into lines, to see him asking can somebody work with him, staying after, coming in before, that work ethic is something that it spills over to everybody else. When you see your peers working that hard, it makes you want to be a part of that.”

USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo also mentioned how Cousins will improve, learning from the NBA’s best.

“It can only help him. I think all the players who play for us are better people for it. They become better players. As a result, they get absorbed in the culture and that culture they bring back to their respective teams, and ultimately they benefit.”

Hopefully following his Olympic experience, Cousins will once again have the confidence of a winner. If Team USA wins the gold, he can take that winning culture back to the Kings and have it rub off on his teammates. That’s his ultimate goal.

“When you leave winning situations, it’s always going to be hard. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy winning?” Cousins said. “But … I’m ready to share my experience with my teammates … get the season kicked off on the right foot.”

Don’t forget, Team USA’s next exhibition is tonight at 8:00 PM. Cousins and the U.S. will take on China live from the Staples Center.


(Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images via NBA.com)

NBA.com: “Friends Russell and Booker Return to USA Camp as Participants”

(Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images via NBA.com)

(Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images via NBA.com)

 

NBA.com’s Joey Ramirez published a story this weekend highlighting the lasting friendship between former Kentucky guard Devin Booker and Louisville native D’Angelo Russell as their basketball careers continue to elevate on similar trajectories. 

 

Booker and Russell initially met five years ago at a Nike Elite 100 Camp, where they were heralded among the best high school basketball players in the nation. In 2012, they were part of a group of high schoolers who watched the USA Basketball Men’s National Team practice from court side in Las Vegas before earning an Olympic gold medal in London that summer. Now, the tandem reunite in Sin City with “USA” sprawled across their chests and compete against some of the same players they watched practice just a short time ago.

 

“‘When we were here four years ago, we always knew that we’d be in this situation,’ Booker said. ‘Obviously I didn’t know it’d be this early, but we’re blessed and fortunate enough of the opportunity.’

Booker was just 15 at the time, but both he and Russell, then-16, were confident that they would someday be playing against the likes of Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, whom they watched with awe that day.

‘It was unbelievable just seeing the level they were on,’ Booker said. ‘I couldn’t imagine just playing against them. Now it’s crazy that I got the chance to play against Kobe and LeBron and everybody like that.'”

 

Russell began his playing career at Louisville’s Central High School before transferring to Montverde Academy in Florida. Booker got his start at Grandville High School in Michigan, but graduated from Moss Point High School in Mississippi. As five-star recruits and McDonald’s All-Americans, the two would ultimately spend just one year in college apiece. Russell played at Ohio State, while Booker was part of Kentucky’s historic 38-1 Final Four campaign. Both players were 2015 NBA Draft lottery picks, as Russell was selected second overall by the Los Angeles Lakers and Booker fell to the Phoenix Suns at No. 13. The duo earned NBA All-Rookie honors, with Booker on the first team and Russell on the second.

 

“‘Now it’s definitely bigger than basketball between us,’ Booker said. ‘We’ve done vacations together. I know his brothers, his family. I know his mind. It’s a friendship that’ll last forever.’

Keeping in contact is obviously easier in the age of social media and cell phones, but it also helps that Russell and Booker remained on parallel paths from coveted high school prospects to lottery picks to key members of the NBA’s future.

‘I feel like we’re similar people,’ Russell said. ‘Our input, our opinions, the way we go about our business, our dedication — I feel like we’re similar. So it’s easy to cope with a guy like that and just grow with him.'”

 

UK Logo (Conclusion)

 

@Condre_3000


(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

USA Basketball to face China at 8:00 p.m. on NBA TV

(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

 

Former Kentucky Wildcat DeMarcus Cousins and the USA Basketball Men’s National Team will be back in action tonight when China visits the Staples Center at 8:00 p.m. EST on NBA TV in Los Angeles. Sunday’s contest will mark the second of five scheduled exhibition games, dubbed the nationwide USA Basketball Showcase, in preparation for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

 

In Team USA’s exhibition opener, the Americans posted a 111-74 victory over Argentina on July 22. Cousins, who played in only 16 minutes as a starter, led the United States’ dominating 53-30 advantage on the boards with 15 rebounds. The former AP first team All-American and SEC Rookie of the Year added 14 points on 4-for-6 shooting and a 6-for-8 performance from the free throw line. Cousins was the only player from either team to record a double-double.

 

After tonight, Team USA will rematch China on July 26 at Oracle Arena in Oakland. Then, the USA Basketball Showcase will round out with bouts against Venezuela on July 29 at Chicago’s United Center and Nigeria on August 1 at Toyota Center in Houston. Olympic play is slated to begin on August 6 with a third meeting between the United States and China in Group A opening competition.

 

Watch highlights of Boogie’s 14-point, 15-rebound showing below:

 

 

UK Logo (Conclusion)

 

@Condre_3000


Why Terrence Jones Joined the Pelicans

After the Houston Rockets decided not to use their team option to keep Terrence Jones with the team for another year, Jones jumped on board with the New Orleans Pelicans.  He could have made more money elsewhere.  Instead, he decided to take the league minimum.

“I wanted an opportunity to play for a team that is young and defining itself, but could still compete right away,” Jones told Basketball Insiders. “I wanted a larger role, where I could really compete and help a team win.”

That might be the initial reasoning, but Anthony Davis has a lot to do with it.  The National Championship teammates created a dynamic frontcourt at Kentucky.  Davis brought finesse and length to the forward position, while Jones extended the floor and brought strength.  Jones is confident that can be replicated in New Orleans.

“When you win a championship with a guy, you create this special bond and you can’t question their drive or willingness to sacrifice,” Jones said, speaking of his relationship with Davis. “We won a lot of games together and I know what he’s capable of. We both work well together and we’ve already got a great chemistry and friendship. When he’s healthy, I think he’s as good as any other big in the league so I am excited to see what we can do this year.”

I believe most of the BBN is excited to see what the two can do together for a team that’s rebuilding, but also has the capability to make a run in the Western Conference.

[Basketball Insiders]


The Ten Best Things MKG said in Lexington

The Ten Best Things MKG said in Lexington

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Michael Kidd-Gilchrist returned to town today to host a camp on campus and was kind enough to take the time to talk to reporters for ten minutes.

Before you see the best quotes, know this: everything you’ve ever heard about MKG being the nicest guy ever is true, and then some.  This was the first time I’d been in an interview setting with former No. 2 pick and I am still trying to comprehend how nice he is.  He was always one of my favorites, but today only solidified his standing.

Now back to the post…

“Things happen. It’s out of my control.”

Last season was a tough one.  After injuring his shoulder in the preseason, he returned for seven games, only to suffer another shoulder injury.  He isn’t the kind of guy to stay down for too long.  Now anxious to return to the court, he thanked his family and friends for supporting him through the tough time.

“I don’t want to say I’m jealous because I’m happy in Charlotte, but I’m excited for them both.”

Two of his National Championship teammates will be back on the floor next season when Terrence Jones suits up for the New Orleans Pelicans alongside Anthony Davis.  He believes their comfortability will make them both better.

“The new football facility is crazy, and I’m very, very jealous like we didn’t get a new (basketball) facility here.  I really, really don’t understand that. I really don’t understand that one.”

Kidd-Gilchrist is so jealous of the new football felicity, he’s not even going to take a tour, “I don’t want to.”  It’s a strange world we live in when basketball players are jealous of the things football players have.

“I showed him the ropes a little bit.  He was my rook, but we were the same age basically.”

During Aaron Harrison‘s rookie season, he received plenty of help from Kidd-Gilchrist and it wasn’t because they were forced to be around one another.  Aaron was assigned to “take care” of MKG throughout the season, going through the typical BS that rookies must go through as a rite of passage.

Was he going to take it easy on him? “Absolutely not.”  Laundry was Harrison’s primary duty, but sometimes he was forced to fetch lunch.

On the court, Kidd-Gilchrist taught him patience.  It’s a long season.  It can be difficult to deal with, especially when you aren’t playing.  Hopefully those are lessons the not-so youngster learned from his not-so elder. (MKG is only one year older, but he’s entering his 5th year while Aaron is entering his second.)

“I watched him in high school a few times. He’s strong, a dog and he knows how to play the game.”

MKG has yet to play pickup games with this year’s team, but he’s a big fan, especially of Bam Adebayo.  From North Carolina, MKG was able to watch the future Cat play in the area a few times and (understandably so) he likes what he sees.

“I just want to help my team win at the end of the day.  I don’t get into stats and all that.  My job is to win the basketball game.”

This guy is humble.  Even though he wants to eventually be an All-Star, he doesn’t care about points, assists and rebounds as long as his team is winning.

“You’ll see this season.  I don’t want to brag on myself.”

Once again, humility.

“I talk to MJ a lot about everything in the game of basketball.”

He can’t always be humble, but at least when he’s bragging it’s a humblebrag.

“I go to Cane’s. I go to Cane’s every day.”

When he’s back in town, he can’t go a day without seeing Stone Cold Willow for some delicious chicken tenders.  It’s just one of the things that makes him feel like he’s home.

“I got a National Championship ring so it’s always going to be home for me.”


SI: Suns are Shaping Devin Booker for Stardom

Getty Images

Getty Images

Devin Booker’s rookie season didn’t go as expected.

The former Kentucky sharpshooter produced big numbers, but it was at the cost of his team’s success.  There were multiple injuries, a veteran boycotted and the head coach was fired.  Booker told Sports Illustrated it forced him to learn about how the league works, quickly.

“I feel like I’ve seen it all,” Booker said. “You don’t realize all that when you’re just a fan of the NBA. You learn the business of the game once you get in there.”

Therein lies the silver lining—a “diamond in the rough,” per Suns head coach Earl Watson—of an eventful year in Phoenix, fraught with bad breaks, missteps, and unintended consequences. The escalating weirdness eventually let Booker loose as a primary ball handler.

It suited him in ways completely uncharacteristic of players at his age and experience level, much less his entrenched role. The Booker pro scouts knew the rookie from Kentucky was a shooter by trade. The Booker the league saw blossom over the back half of the season was a wholly more complicated cover with a mature sense of timing and ball control.

Booker blossomed during his first complete NBA season.  Over the summer he’s continued to improved during the Las Vegas League and Team USA Camp.  There are plenty of details left to learn — especially defensively — but the future is bright for the Suns’ diamond in the rough.

[Sports Illustrated]


DeMarcus Cousins credits hot yoga with helping him get in the best shape of his life

DeMarcus Cousins has taken his role on Team USA very seriously, working on his conditioning all summer leading up to Training Camp this week in Las Vegas. Cousins told reporters yesterday that he hasn’t weighed himself since he started his new training regimen two and a half months ago, but everyone watching him in Vegas says he’s in the best shape of his career. What’s his secret? Hot Yoga, aka yoga in a room heated to 105 degrees with 40 percent humidity.

“I feel the great,” Cousins told The Sacramento Bee. “It’s just that feeling of your body detoxing every workout, so that’s one thing. I feel a lot lighter on my feet. Of course I’ve slimmed down. I’m a lot more flexible, a lot more mobile, so it’s all coming together for me.”

Team USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski agreed, telling reporters that Cousins’ hard work is proof he’s taking his Team USA duties seriously.

“He’s gotten in unbelievable shape for this,” Coach K said. “He wants to be here and he wants to represent his country, and I’m proud of the progress he’s made.”

Cousins says he’s always been interested in hot yoga, but it was his former teammate Rajon Rondo that pushed him to fully commit to it.

“I really became consistent this offseason,” Cousins said. “Rajon Rondo is a big fan of yoga and he would push it to me, push it to me always.”

Cousins’ mobility is on display in these videos he uploaded yesterday:

Keep it up, Boogie.

[SacBee]