Team USA center DeMarcus Cousins is eagerly awaiting to make his debut at the Olympics, and he has already set his sights on taking home a gold medal.
Last Friday, Cousins, who plays for the Sacramento Kings in the NBA, scored 14 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in Team USA’s 111-74 win over Argentina and followed that up with 12 points and seven rebounds in a 106-57 victory over China on Sunday.
Having already made his presence felt, Cousins is eager to do his country proud when he steps out onto the court in Rio de Janeiro.
“It’s already crazy that I’m one of the select few to be able to represent the country,” he told reporters. “So to come home with a gold medal is something I can tell my kids, grandkids. That’s a story I’ll always be able to share.”
While Cousins has made a positive start on Team USA’s’ journey to the Olympics, he has said he has no plans to use the event to change his image.
Cousins has not always been the most popular of players due to his fiery personality, and the Olympics might seem like a good platform to repair the damage done, but he insisted that he is solely focused on ensuring Team USA emerge victorious at the Olympics.
“In a way, but that’s not really my main focus, honestly,” he said. “It’s about those guys on the court. It’s about doing what I have to do to help this team win. That’s my main focus.”
Meanwhile, Team USA Basketball director Jerry Colangelo has been highly impressed with Cousins thus far and said that the 25-year-old will play an instrumental role during the Olympics.
“I think he’s really matured as a person,” Colangelo said. “He understood after going through some early struggles with us he was going to have to get himself ready to play, fit in and make adjustments, and he did all of that.
“So he shows up to camp here in great shape. He’d been working for some time to get himself in shape. And attitude-wise, he’s in great shape, in my opinion. This is something he really wants. I just wish he could take part of the culture we have established here and take it back it home with him. It would help their entire organization.”
Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski echoed Colangelo’s sentiments, saying: “He’s improved tremendously. But I know him better, both as a guy and as a player, so our relationship is really good.”