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John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins experiencing different journeys as face of franchise

In tonight’s NBA Rookie Challenge, former Cats John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Bledsoe will reunite again as they join forces with five other NBA rookies to face the sophomore team led by Cousins’ teammate Tyreke Evans.  At the mid-point of their first professional season, they’ve each enjoyed success on the court, but the two players tasked with being a face of their franchises – Wall and Cousins – have experienced drastically different journeys.

As Michael Lee of the Washington Post points out in this morning’s edition of the paper, John Wall is learning to become the team’s leader and is welcoming his role as the team’s new marketable face.  Wall’s comfort in leading the Wizards apparently stems from his time at UK, where John Calipari implored him to become the trusted voice in the locker room for what was, arguably the nation’s most talented team.  An excerpt:

Wall believed he always had “leadership capabilities,” but Kentucky Coach John Calipari was the first to tell him that he needed to assume that role as the team’s best player. Wall had already taken a huge step as a leader when he initiated a meeting with Eric Bledsoe, who had signed to play point guard for Kentucky before Wall arrived. Wall not only made it work, with Bledsoe willingly moved over to shooting guard, but became a close friend.

Calipari also implored Wall to push his teammates, encourage them to take open shots and pick up their energy when it waned. At times, Wall was able to get through to talented but temperamental forward DeMarcus Cousins, now of the Sacramento Kings, when others couldn’t.

“No matter where he is, no matter what team he’s on, he’s a leader from Day One,” Cousins said of Wall. “That’s something that was put in him. God’s blessed him with that talent. He’s got it.”

Cousins, meanwhile, hasn’t quite been the reliable rock that a young Kings squad needs.  Despite putting up impressive numbers on the court, Boogie has had some issues with his coaches and teammates in the first half of his rookie season and earned himself a segment on Outside The Lines yesterday to discuss.  ESPN’s Tim Keown says that the system is partially to blame for the immaturity that Cousins has displayed in his young professional career.  Interesting read.

Article written by Thomas Beisner

13 Comments for John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins experiencing different journeys as face of franchise

  1. Matt Jones
    11:05 am February 18, 2011 Permalink

    Looking forward to this game tonight

  2. SoCalCat
    11:21 am February 18, 2011 Permalink

    Not sure Cousins is the ‘face of the franchise’ nearly as much as Wall is. It is also easier as a guard/small forward to be the focus when you’ve got the ball in your hands significant minutes of the game. There is no doubt that Wall is more mature than Cousins, but I cannot blame Cousins for turning down the big paycheck that would not have become much bigger if he had stayed around. It is fairly amazing they are able to cope with fame/fortune without some mental blunders.

  3. Roach K
    11:34 am February 18, 2011 Permalink

    The only thing that seemed unfair in the Tim Keown article was the assertion that Cousins’ good behavior at UK was because since we all knew he was one-and-done, there was no substance to his time at UK. That’s crazy. Cousins definitely bonded with the UK fanbase and the city of Lexington. We treated him fairly and he responded. His problem now is that the world isn’t always fair, and he needs to learn how to react effectively to those times. Generally speaking, he really is in the right when these Sacramento blowups happen, but he responds in a way that is ineffective and unhelpful. Keown was exactly correct on that point. Cousins is a good kid. We know that better than anyone. When he matures just a little more, everyone will see the Big Cuz we know.

  4. tim
    11:35 am February 18, 2011 Permalink

    What are the odds the rookies win?

  5. Kentucky1
    11:37 am February 18, 2011 Permalink

    Them cats look so good in that uniform!

  6. Runnin'Ramel
    12:03 pm February 18, 2011 Permalink

    Tyreke is out of this game due to a foot injury, apparently. What time does it start?

  7. Stack
    12:08 pm February 18, 2011 Permalink

    Man, I miss those guys!!

  8. BigAbes4UK
    12:37 pm February 18, 2011 Permalink

    Can’t wait to watch the game tonight! That front line of Griffin and Cousins with Wall and Bledsoe in the back court- my goodness!! Don’t see the rooks losing this one.

  9. Hendrix
    12:53 pm February 18, 2011 Permalink

    What station and what time is this game on tonight. I can’t seem to find it.

  10. Hendrix
    1:04 pm February 18, 2011 Permalink

    Nevermind…I found it. It is on TNT.

  11. bubba
    1:04 pm February 18, 2011 Permalink

    When someone doesn’t fit into to the system it is usually a management issue.

    2:46 pm February 18, 2011 Permalink

    Cousins is the “face of the franchise”?

  13. Lex07
    5:07 pm February 18, 2011 Permalink

    Cousins is not a “face of the franchise”. Do you even watch the NBA?