After the Kings regular season finale a few hours ago, DeMarcus Cousins was asked about an ESPN.com report indicating that team officials are lobbying for his participation at Team USA's pre-Olympic training camp July 1-7 in Las Vegas. USA czar Jerry Colangelo has said players for the 2012 London Olympics squad will be picked from among the 16 NBA stars who are still healthy, willing and available, and were named to the preliminary squad in January.
Cousins, in a typically candid postgame conversation, said he hoped to be invited to Las Vegas, and if so, expected to make the final roster. LIke, um, the 2012 Olympic roster. "I mean, who wouldn't want to play for Team USA?" he said. "Go over there and represent your country. I would love to do it."
Asked if he would be willing to go to Las Vegas strictly as an invitee with the Select Team, comprised of players chosen to challenge Team USA in scrimmages and practices, influencing the likelihood of their own future Olympic appearances, the Kings second-year center added: "I feel like if I did go play for the Select Team, I probably would get a spot (on the Olympic team). Honestly ... but we'll see."
Team USA's lack of abundant big men notwithstanding, either because of lack of talent at the center position, injury or lack of interest, Cousins' presence in London this summer remains is highly improbable. Gotta love the confidence, though. Also, his presence in a program overseen by Colangelo and coached by Mike Krzyzewski would only further enhance his improving reputation, which has been rehabbed significantly these past few months under coach Keith Smart. (And, of course, by his performances).
Tyreke Evans, though, has other plans and not-so-fond memories of his participation with the national team. He was among the invitees to the training camp after his Rookie of the Year campaign in 2010, but he sprained his ankle during the first practice and was never in the mix for the national team. Late Thursday night, he said USAB had made inquiries about his availability, but that he quickly expressed a lack of interest.
"No, not this summer," said the Kings third-year guard. "I went there (Vegas, in 2010) and got hurt. I need to stay healthy. I just want to work on my game this summer, keep working on my conditioning. We have a lot of work and lot of stuff planned."