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Attitude Problems? DeMarcus Cousins Is No Problem


by Jared Quillen

I want to address the ridiculous idea that DeMarcus Cousins has a bad attitude and that NBA GM’s are concerned about this. Yes he has been asked by coaches about his attitude, specifically about his televised and over publicized confrontation with John Calipari in the West Virginia game. But this is just coaches making sure to do their homework before drafting someone. As a coach interviewing any potential player, you are not doing your job if you don’t attempt to assess someone’s attitude and their coachability as well as their potential for disrupting team chemistry. The reality is though that all it takes is a few minutes with DeMarcus Cousins for anyone to realize that talk of his attitude is pure hype.

Let me say before I write this paragraph that I am in no way saying that DeMarcus Cousins and I are buds, and I am not trying to associate myself with someone famous like I hang out in important crowds or that I have “sources”, but I have gotten to know him a little bit over the past year. I spent three days camped out across the street from Wildcat Lodge waiting for Big Blue Madness tickets last October and spoke with him on multiple occasions that week. I also organized a cornhole tournament for the campers and he actually played in it which was really cool. I was also there when he spent an hour throwing a football (he has a better arm than MikeHartline) to anyone that wanted to play in the parking lot across the street from Memorial Coliseum. I have also had the privilege of interviewing him on multiple occasions in pre-game press conferences at the Craft Center and post-game pressers at Rupp Arena. The point I am making here is that while I don’t know him like a close friend, I know him as well as any other major sports writer and better than most. I saw Pat Forde at one press conference at Rupp Arena this year, one. Dick Vitale came to two games as I recall. Jay Bilas, one. Digger Vitale, one etc. etc. etc. The point is a lot of these guys writing about DeMarcus Cousins’ attitude don’t know the kid any better than what has been floating around in the papers which are written by equally unqualified opinionators. You can trust me when I say they didn’t learn anything about him having a bad attitude from any press conferences they attended. Cousins jokes and kids with reporters. He smiles and makes humorous comments. He generally has the media eating from his hands at press conferences.

And that’s generally how it goes with him. I was once in the Craft Center getting ready for a press conference as the team was doing some pre-practice shootaround and as Cousins was lacing up his shoes he was belting out Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” and very much enjoying himself. Then as he was shooting around there was a kid there, maybe eleven years old, I don’t know who he was, not Cal’s son though and he and Cousins seemed be having great time playing together.

The problem is that very early on the rumors from Cousins’ high school days about his attitude followed him to college and as a result every single team all season did all that they could to goad him and get him into foul trouble, get him out of the game. If you watch game tape, he endured a cheap shot almost every trip down the court. It is hard for anyone to control their anger when facing that game after game after game.

Cousins has been fielding questions about his attitude from media almost non-stop recently as he gets ready for the NBA. And the professional sports media is much more aggressive in their questioning than the college sports media. Cousins has gotten noticeably annoyed to the point where he said, “People think I am this thug or this bad person or this murderer or something.”

I can tell you with relative surety that he is not a murderer. At least I’m pretty sure.

However it has gotten to where even John Wall has had to come to his defense stating, “There’s nothing wrong with DeMarcus…He is an emotional guy; that is just how he is. He shows it. He is always going to be that way, but it is not some big thing. I think he just got a bad rap, and everyone keeps repeating it. But he is a good teammate and a good guy.”

Indeed there is nothing wrong with DeMarcus. I saw today in one mock draft where he was projected to go sixth to the Warriors. Are you kidding me? I tell you now there will be twenty eight teams that will forever kick themselves for not getting Cousins in this year’s draft. Wall goes first and then some team is going to hit the jackpot with Cousins. I am telling you that DeMarcus Cousins’ attitude is one of the most overblown stories right now and additionally I really don’t think there are more than two maybe three teams that wouldn’t take Cousins because of concerns about his attitude. Professional teams don’t care about that. Ron Artest still has a team. Just think about that. Ron Artest. Teams are generally concerned about how a player might affect team chemistry and as John Wall said above, Cousins is not a chemistry problem. And that is how it stands.

If he goes any lower than second, he fell too low.

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