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Temperament keeps Cousins from competing for shot at Olympic roster

The Sports Xchange
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DeMarcus Cousins was steaming in the heat of Las Vegas during U.S. Olympic squad workouts in early July.

Cousins, the Kings' third-year center, was a member of the Select Team that was working out against Team USA, and he believed he entered the summer with a slight chance to make the team amid a rash of injuries to post players.

Turns out, he never had a shot at all, according to USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo, who through the media scolded Cousins for his immaturity. Colangelo said Cousins would not be considered for the Olympic team until he matures, adding that he has a "long way to go."

During one practice, Cousins reportedly was too physical, too mouthy in complaining about calls and talking trash. He also frowned, shook his head and waved his hands. In other words, same old Cousins that created issues with then-Kings coach Paul Westphal, who was ultimately fired early last season in a classic "he goes or I go" standoff.

Cousins spoke to Colangelo days later, on July 9.

"I had a conversation with him," Cousins said. "I asked him, 'How was I being immature?' He never really gave me an answer. I mean, I really wanted to know. I took offense to it. It definitely bothered me."

Cousins has made progress on the floor, averaging 18.1 points and 11 rebounds last season. However, his emotions continue to define him, though he drew rave reviews from veteran Olympic players such as Kobe Bryant.

"European basketball is extremely physical, and (Cousins) brings a physicality that really changes the energy of the game," the Lakers star said. "He's not afraid to upset guys, and he kind of makes the game uncomfortable."

Said Colangelo, "Everything's cool. He wanted an explanation. I was trying to be more encouraging than anything else."

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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