DeMarcus Cousins officially accepts invite to USA Basketball mini-camp

DeMarcus Cousins drives against Elton Brand. (Photo: Steven Chea)

With hopes of representing his country at the next Olympic games, DeMarcus Cousins is getting a second chance.  The Sacramento Kings big man is one of 27 NBA players who have accepted an invite to this summer’s USA Basketball Mini Camp taking place in Las Vegas, NV.

Yahoo! Sports’ Marc Spears first reported last week that Cousins was indeed being invited to participate in this summer’s program.

“You bury the past and go forward,” USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo told Yahoo! Sports. “He’s invited and he’s definitely on the list. New year, new summer, new opportunity.”

Cousins was a member of last year’s select team, which scrimmaged against the men’s senior roster ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games in London.  Colangelo criticized Cousins for being immature, which didn’t sit well with the Kings starting center who later confronted the USA Basketball Chairman about his comments.

“I asked him, how I was being immature” Cousins told reporters gathered at last year’s camp. “He never really gave me an answer. He just said it was his opinion. I told him I’m just trying to come out and play hard. I’m not trying to be any of that. I have respect for every veteran in here, so at the end of the day, I’m really just trying to play hard.”

Cousins and others will assemble in Las Vegas next month and participate in the mini-camp, which runs from July 22-25.  The camp will be run by Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski, who has signed on to coach another cycle of USA Basketball leading up to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.  He will be aided by new Team USA assistant coaches Monty Williams of the New Orleans Hornets and Tom Thibodeau of the Chicago Bulls along with Jim Boeheim of Syracuse University.

Below, some comments from Colangelo and Krzyzewski on the announcement of this summer’s participants along with the list of 27-players who’ve accepted invites.

Jerry Colangelo

The group of players we have assembled for the mini-camp are extremely talented and very versatile. This is an important opportunity for each one of them because we will be evaluating which players will continue to be involved in future USA National Team training camps and teams.  Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love, Rudy Gay, Eric Gordon, Danny Granger, and Andre Iguodala were all guys who played in our 2009 mini-camp and went on to play for the 2010 USA World Championship and 2012 U.S. Olympic teams that won gold. I’m sure it will not be much different this time around and some of the players involved in this mini-camp will be members of upcoming USA National teams.

The majority of these players have prior USA Basketball experience including 10 members of last summer’s USA Select Team that helped prepare the U.S. Olympic Team. This year is an important first step in the rebuilding of the USA National Team roster for the 2014-16 international competitions, and we believe we have compiled a roster of not only outstanding basketball talents, but individuals who will represent the United States in the manner we expect.

Mike Kyrzyweski

This is an exciting group of versatile and talented players. This group of 27 players has a really good blend of experience, both with USA Basketball and in the NBA. The mini-camp will feature a lot of younger players who are emerging in the NBA and it will give us our first opportunity to see them at this elite level. I’m really anxious to get to work with them.


Jonathan Santiago
Jonathan Santiago serves Cowbell Kingdom as senior editor specializing in writing, podcasting and video production. He also handles the majority of CK’s day-to-day beat coverage of the Kings.

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