According to USA Basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski, Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins has “cemented himself” as the backup for Anthony Davis.
Despite initial rumors about his standing within the program, Boogie Cousins had a ton of confidence about making the final roster for the FIBA Basketball World Cup. Per ESPN:
Insisting he had zero worries about making the 12-man squad, Cousins brushed off the doubters Friday night in the bowels of Madison Square Garden, telling assembled reporters: “Y’all will see.”
Still recovering from the bone bruise in his right knee suffered earlier this month in Chicago, Cousins was the fourth player off the U.S. bench in Tuesday’s exhibition victory over Slovenia. Yet the rotation in that game confirmed that he’s firmly part of the “core group” of nine players so often referenced by Krzyzewski since this team started practicing together in late July.
For all the skepticism about his ability to win over Team USA staffers who haven’t forgotten his poor first impression in 2012 — as well as the questions that linger about how he’ll get along with FIBA referees — Cousins is clearly ahead of fellow bigs Mason Plumlee and Andre Drummond. (Ditto for 10th man DeMar DeRozan.)