The BOOGIE FOR AMERICA train is starting to gain some steam, you guys. The fact that Jerry Colangelo invited him to the Team USA camp, and downplayed last year’s drama, was a pretty strong indication that the USA basketball people were willing to give DMC a shot at being a big part of the National Team’s future.
That Boogie has said and done all the right things since arriving in Las Vegas has also helped the big man’s cause. And assuming neither side does anything to rock the boat, the Cousins-Team USA relationship is one that could be mutually beneficial for a long, long time.
“What was said between us wasn’t as bad as it (seemed),” Cousins said. “But for (Colangelo) to push that aside and give me another chance, I’m very thankful. I’m going to come in here and make the best of the opportunity.”
There are no guarantees that Cousins makes next summer’s World Cup team, but the USA is always in search of quality big men, and Cousins fits the mold – a physical 6-11 center who can score, rebound and pass. Last season, Cousins averaged 17.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.4 steals and improved his shooting to 46.5% and his free throw percentage to 73.8%.
Colangelo just may need Cousins, and Cousins just may need USA Basketball. Unlikely as it seemed a year ago, it may turn into a good fit for both parties.
Cal agrees, and thinks that Boogie is exactly where he needs to be right now:
“This is all good,” Calipari said. “What’s going on for him here (in Las Vegas) is the best thing for his career — being coached by these guys (U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski and assistants Tom Thibodeau and Monty Williams) and taking pride in something other than himself. It’s about this organization. If you want to make it, you make everybody better or you’re not making the team.”
Calipari said he talked with Cousins before the minicamp but declined to reveal specifics of the conversation.
“I’m not his coach, but we talked. I’m pretty direct,” he said. “I talked to Jerry about it. Jerry asked me. (DeMarcus is) doing his thing. I’m happy for him. … He’s young. You can’t get guys like him.”
UK bias aside, it really is a no-brainer for Cousins to be on the short list to make the National Team. He’s young, dynamic, and statistically one of the most dominant big men in the game.
Plus, given the the age of the majority of Team USA’s veteran front court players, and the unpredictability of their established younger guys (looking at you, Dwight), Colangelo and Coach K have no choice but to look to the next generation of big men. And when it comes to on-the-court productivity, they’ll be hard-pressed to look past Boogie.
So, Boogie for America? Maybe. Probably. Hopefully.