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.”
“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.”
“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.