SACRAMENTO – Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousin and 12 members of the 2012 USA Men’s Select Team will open training camp in Las Vegas on July 6.
Cousins was named to the team on May 21. He talked about himself and other players on USA Select Team to reporters at the Kings practice facility Monday afternoon. It was clear that he is humble about playing in a system that could possibly land him on the USA Olympic team in the future.
“I’m excited…this is going to be a stepping stone,” Cousins said. “This is going to be a great experience and I get a chance to be around some of the elite players in this league. So I plan on learning a lot from them and taking an advantage of the situation.”
The USA Select squad with feature nine players owning USA Basketball experience, including the 2011-12 NBA Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving (Cleveland / Duke) and the 2010-11 NBA Rookie of the Year runner-up John Wall (Washington Wizards / Kentucky).
USA Basketball today announced 13 players for the 2012 USA Men’s Select Team that will train against the 2012 USA Basketball Men’s National Team during its July 6-12 training camp in Las Vegas, Nev.
In addition to those young athletes, Cousin will be playing with El Dorado Hill’s Ryan Anderson (Orlando Magic / California), DeJuan Blair (San Antonio Spurs / Pittsburgh), DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors / USC), Derrick Favors (Utah Jazz / Georgia Tech), Paul George (Indiana Pacers / Fresno State), Taj Gibson (Chicago Bulls / USC); and Gordon Hayward (Utah Jazz / Butler).
Rounding out the list are Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs / San Diego State), Jeremy Lin (New York Knicks / Harvard) and Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors / Washington State).
“I just want to pick up good habits from them,” Cousins said the training camp that will end July 12. “I want to learn how to work and learn how to be a leader.”
USA Basketball also selected as co-head coaches of the USA Select Team. They are 2010 USA Basketball World Championship assistant coach Jay Triano and longtime Syracuse University assistant coach Mike Hopkins.
“The USA Select Team was a vital part of the USA Men’s National Team’s training in 2007, 2008 and 2010, and again in 2012 we’ll utilize this team of select NBA players to help get our National Team ready for the very competitive summer that is ahead of us,” said Jerry Colangelo, USA Basketball chairman.
“Being chosen for the Select Team is quite an honor, and it’s an important step in becoming involved in USA Basketball’s National Team program in the future. In the past, current national team finalists like Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love, Derrick Rose, LaMarcus Aldridge, Andre Iguodala, as well as many other outstanding players got their USA National Team start through the Select Team,” Colangelo stated.
Members of the USA Select Team will assemble in Las Vegas and conduct a training session July 5, then train with the USA National Team July 6-11 (12:00-3:00 p.m. PDT). All practices will take place at UNLV’s Mendenhall Center.
The training camp concludes with the July 12 (6:00 p.m. local time) USA Basketball Showcase that features the USA facing the Dominican Republic at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center.
By Antonio R. Harvey
OBSERVER STAFF WRITER