DeMarcus Cousins says he's missing UK at skills camp in Lexington

mmaloney@herald-leader.comAugust 2, 2011 

The question posed Monday to DeMarcus Cousins: On a scale of 1-10, how much do you miss UK?

Without hesitation, he replied "10."

"I miss this place," said the former University of Kentucky center who, last season, made the NBA All-Rookie first team with the Sacramento Kings. "I can't wait for the 15th. We get to play in Rupp."

Aug. 15 is when Cousins and fellow "Kentucky legends" will play on their former home court in an exhibition against the Dominican Republic national team. His teammates will include Eric Bledsoe, Keith Bogans, Jodie Meeks, Nazr Mohammed, Tayshaun Prince, Rajon Rondo and John Wall.

"It's going to be fun. Playing with John, Eric ... again — it's going to be a lot of fun. Playing with Rajon, that's going to be an experience."

With the fun, Cousins expects a victory.

"We're going to put on a show, and we're going to win," he said. "I mean, we're still undefeated in Rupp, so we're going to keep it that way."

The Dominicans, guided by UK Coach John Calipari, feature NBA players Al Horford, Charlie Villanueva and one of Cousins' Sacramento teammates — ex-Louisville standout Francisco Garcia.

"I'll be talking trash to Cal and Francisco Garcia," Cousins said. "I can't wait."

Cousins said Garcia, a sixth-year pro, was "like my big brother" last season.

Cousins, who is listed by the Kings at 6-foot-11, 270 pounds, looked fit Monday as he took a break at the Kentucky Basketball Academy in Lexington. That's where his Elite Skills Basketball Camp, hosted by the Bluegrass Stallions, is taking place through Wednesday.

He also is working on his game, which has evolved with the Kings as he faces the basket and shoots more than he did during his UK season.

Now, with an NBA lockout in place, he wants to "just continue to try and get in better shape, get my body right to start the season.

"It's not really hard to find the motivation," during the lockout, he said. "I just want to increase every year and get better every year. That's my role right now. I've got to have a better season than I had my rookie season. That's my motivation."

There is the possibility that there won't be an NBA season, though.

He says that if a significant number of games are missed, he "probably will" play overseas, although he doesn't know where that might be.

He is not considering taking classes at UK, though, "because I'm basically working on me right now. I'm trying to get in the best shape possible."

Cousins averaged 14.1 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists over 81 games with the Kings last season.

The biggest adjustment was, he said, "trying to catch rest on the road. It's tough. Different time zones. Different bed every night. It wears you out."

He chuckled when asked what it will be like if he faces former UK teammate Josh Harrellson in the NBA. Harrellson evolved from a little-used substitute into a UK stalwart and an NBA Draft pick, landing with the New York Knicks.

"First off, I'm so proud of Josh," Cousins said. "Josh came a long way just from that one season. Josh came along, and to see Josh in a Knicks uniform, that's going to be a funny moment. It's going to be really funny, but it should be a fun game."

Cousins said UK once again has "a very talented class" of freshmen. A class that he would like to see in action.

"If the lockout does continue, you should see my face in Rupp this year," he said. "Hopefully, I can make it down. I didn't get a chance last year. My schedule."

He said he has played against two of the freshman — Marquis Teague and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. He knows about Anthony Davis and Kyle Wiltjer.

"Anthony's an incredible player. He's very talented," Cousins said. "Mike, he has a motor out the roof. And Teague — another legendary point guard coming out of UK."

Lexington Herald-Leader is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service