No Sacramento Kings talk, but DeMarcus Cousins chats offseason goals, Team USA invite

DeMarcus Cousins conducts a Q&A with the kids at his Sacramento Basketball camp. (Photo: Jonathan Santiago)

In his first public appearance in Sacramento following the end of the regular season, DeMarcus Cousins had a lot to say. Just not a whole lot about the team he plays for.

As you’ve probably already heard, the 22-year-old center is currently biting his tongue on anything Sacramento Kings related. Entering the final year of his rookie deal, the Kings big man is eligible for a contract extension on July 1st. Cousins’ agent, Dan Fegan, is advising him from talking about the Kings’ new front office, coaching staff and ownership right now.

However, he was candid about a myriad of other topics. Yesterday, he spoke about his summer invite to USA Basketball mini-camp and even the city’s fight to keep the team.

Cousins was back in Sacramento hosting a three-day basketball camp for more than 100 local kids, 70 of which he personally sponsored. The camp, which was held at Sacramento High School, wrapped up yesterday.

Transcribed below is part of Cousins’ comments to both Cowbell Kingdom and News 10 on the camp’s final day.

On Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson stopping by his camp on Thursday:

“That was a big thing. I really appreciate him for coming through and supporting the camp. Like I said, the whole camp just turned out great.”

On what the mayor was able to accomplish by keeping the Kings in Sacramento:

“I mean the fight he put up for the city was incredible. I went on Twitter, I told him that. Much respect. He did an incredible job and the city deserves its team.”

On how long the offseason has felt for him already despite the NBA Finals just recently ending:

“It’s been long so far. I mean it’s not a good feeling sitting at home, so we’re definitely going to try to change that.”

On how he feels physically and mentally:

“I definitely feel like I’ve grown and I mean, I feel like I’ve grown from each season. So, I’m ready for the next year and I’m ready to turn things around.”

On what he’s specifically trying to work on this summer:

“Everything. I mean, it’s not just one specific area. It’s every part of my game. And I just try to improve from each season.”

On his biggest disappointment going into this current offseason:

“Of course, it’s the losing record. I mean, I’m tired of it. It’s old. It’s gotten old fast and I’m just ready for change.”

On whether the first three years of his career have gone by quickly:

“I mean, I’m still a young player. But at the same time, I’m going into my fourth year. So it’s definitely went by fast. I’m enjoying the experience.”

On how he feels about where he is after three years in the league:

“I believe I’m pretty successful at this point in my career. But I definitely want to continue to get better and go to even higher levels.”

On whether this upcoming year is the most important of his career:

“I feel like every year is important. But I mean like I said, I just want to continue to improve each year in my career.”

On trying once again to become a leader:

“Absolutely. I know it’s in me. It’s just me continuing to believe in myself and the others believing in me as well.”

On having support around him:

“That’s a big thing. You definitely need a supporting cast. It’s hard to get something accomplished when the people around you, you know what I’m saying, don’t have your back and are on the same page. So that’s very important.”

On whether he’s approaching his invite to Team USA this year any differently:

“I mean, same approach. You just go in, try to prove myself, learn from the experience and just make the best out of the situation.”

On when he found out he was being invited:

“Well actually, I found out before it was announced. I can’t remember the exact time, but I’ve known for a while.”

On whether USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo spoke to him personally about attending this year’s mini-camp:

“No. He reached out to the people around me and they let me know.”

On whether he was surprised to be invited again after what had happened last year:

“I mean, I feel like the situation was kind of blown out of proportion as it usually is. I’m glad that I did get a second chance. Like I said, I’m gonna make the best of the situation.”

On if this is a new opportunity for him with USA Basketball:

“Not necessarily because like I said, I believe the whole thing was blown out of proportion. But I mean, I’ma go in and do what I do. I’m going to go in and perform.”

On how much it would mean for him to make Team USA:

“It would be incredible. I mean, who wouldn’t want to play for Team USA? That’s the biggest honor (in life) playing basketball.”

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