DeMarcus Cousins is looking to impress in hopes of landing a spot on a future national team. (Julie Jacobson/AP)
LAS VEGAS -- Last summer, USA Basketball chairman Colangelo told reporters that Kings center DeMarcus Cousins “has some growing up to do” and that he “needs to mature as a person.” That prompted some pushback from Cousins, who has also developed a reputation for volatility toward referees and opponents. Some wondered whether Cousins' personality would wind up limiting his chances with Team USA, which did not select him for the 2012 London Olympics after his tryout.
Colangelo and Cousins, who turns 23 next month, both indicated Monday that the fences have been mended.
"There was a little bit of a misunderstanding that got out of hand with the media over what did transpire with him and that was unfortunate," Colangelo said on the first day of the U.S. team's minicamp. "In an attempt to bring it to a close, I said, The book is closed, let's move on with our lives and why not give him a second chance? Everyone deserves a second chance."
USA Today Sports reported that Cousins said he was glad to be in Las Vegas and that last summer's exchange with Colangelo was overblown.
"What was said between us wasn't as bad as it [seemed]," Cousins said. "But for him to push that aside and give me another chance, I'm very thankful. I'm going to come in here and make the best of the opportunity."
John Calipari, who coached Cousins for one season at Kentucky, was excited that his former player was invited back.
"What's going on for him here is the best thing for his career," Calipari said. "Being coached by these guys, being in this, taking pride in something other than himself, it's about this organization. If you want to make it, you make everybody better or you're not making the team."
Meanwhile, Colangelo gave high marks to Cousins' effort on Monday.
"He's done fine," Colangelo said. "He came in with a great attitude, he has worked real hard [and] he had a good day today in practice. But a lot of people did."