Sports Out West

Will DeMarcus Cousins mature after Team USA invite?

Photo Credit: Gameface Photos

After receiving an invite from president Jerry Colangelo to participate in minicamp for the Team USA basketball squad in July, Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins could finally have the motivation he needs to take the next step in his career and mature mentally. 

Cousins is well-known for his tendency to pick up frequent technical fouls, get confrontational with the media off the floor and become noticeably frustrated on the court when things don’t go his way. He displayed some of these flaws a year ago when he was part of the squad that practiced against the team that won the Gold Medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games. At that time, Colangelo stated that he had “some growing up to do,” and would need work in order to be considered for future  opportunities. 

It appears that a year later, he’ll have the chance to prove he’s ready to take the next step in his mental development. He’s got all of the physical tools to be a dominant force in the NBA and a staple on the national team, but it’s between the ears that has always been a question mark with “Boogie.” In three years in the NBA, he’s posted solid averages of 16.3 points, 9.8 rebounds and has a 45 percent field goal percentage.  

The best-case scenario is that Colangelo’s trust motivates Cousins to take the next step and come in with the mentality that he has to justify the selection. Attitude is everything with him, because his talent is unquestioned. 

If he improves attitudinally, it will be a major win for Team USA, who can always use his dynamic skill set at the five position to compete with the versatile bigs in the European game. It may require patience on the coaches and team, however. Sometimes, these things take time.

He is just 22 years old, after all. 

Photo Credit: GameFace-Photos / Flickr

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Michael C. Jones is the managing editor and founder of Sports Out West and a Southern California-based sports journalist. His work is also regularly featured on Yahoo! Sports and SB Nation. You can catch up with him on Twitter: @MikeJonesTweets.