I will admit, I was not a fan of DeMarcus Cousins in the past.  In reality, I flat out disliked him.  He was mean, short-tempered, played with a low basketball-IQ, made poor decisions, and was the furthest thing from a role model for his fellow players.  Although he obviously had a significant amount of raw talent, he came with too many issues to be considered one of the top big men in the league.  He consistently accrued the most technical fouls in the league, putting Sacramento in the tough situation of being trapped between talent and immaturity.  If I were a general manager of a team, or even a coach, Cousins would’ve been benched in an instant.  He had such a bad attitude that I would have labeled him the unhappiest player in the NBA.

With the $14 million contract Cousins held, the Kings were stuck in an uncomfortable position.  Their cap space was severely limited by DeMarcus, but his poor attitude made the possibility of a good trade rather unlikely.  The Sacramento Kings found themselves in a tough situaton, waiting and hoping for the high-potential center to mature.

What is unbelievable is the brand-new Cousins we have seen so far this season.  To start, he’s been an absolute animal on the court.  In the Sacramento Kings’ first 11 games, he has put up eight double-doubles.  Playing against legitimate MVP candidate Anthony Davis, DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins posted 24 points and a massive 17 boards.  He has the fifth highest PER (player efficiency rating) in the league to accompany his 22.5 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game.  In addition to these impressive statistics, Cousins has reformed his attitude as well.  Not only has he refrained from complaining to referees, he has also been a positive role model for  his fellow Kings, promoting team basketball and smart play.

This is the form of leadership the young team has desperately needed. He even restrained his head coach, Michael Malone, from getting a technical foul when Malone was complaining about a rather questionable call on Cousins.

So how did this rapid turnaround come about?  A very significant factor in this character development has been his participation in the FIBA World Cup this past summer.  Having the veteran experience of Duke’s Coach K and advice from fellow big men such as Andre Drummond and Anthony Davis surely made him realize the importance of a positive attitude.

Now that Cousins has seemingly dropped the undesirable aspect of his reputation, he has nothing but incredible potential to show off this season.  In the works is a serious case for Cousins to become one of the most dominant and powerful centers in the league at the young, ripe age of 24.  It should be very interesting to see if he can maintain this positive change and continue to grow as a person and player over the course of this season.  If so, the league needs to watch out for the Boogie man.

Eber is a member of the class of 2017.

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