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By LARRY VAUGHT
LEXINGTON Ã¢â‚¬â€ Being back at the John Calipari Pro Camp certainly was a labor of love for DeMarcus Cousins.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fun coming back to Kentucky. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s something I always enjoy. I consider this home,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Cousins, the No. 5 pick by Sacramento in the NBA draft in June after his stellar freshman season at Kentucky.
He was back in Lexington Thursday working at the first day of CalipariÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s three-day camp that will feature No. 1 draft pick John Wall Friday and first-round picks Patrick Patterson and Eric Bledsoe both Saturday.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I walked in the gym when I got here (Wednesday) and John was dripping sweat,Ã¢â‚¬Â Cousins said during a break between the two sold-out camp sessions at Memorial Coliseum. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I plan to play a little bit while IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m here.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Cousins hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t backed off his belief that he should have gone higher than the No. 5 pick and admitted he was disappointed he didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get to play against more teams that passed on him during the NBA summer league in Las Vegas.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think I started strong, but ended bad (in summer league),Ã¢â‚¬Â Cousins said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I made a lot of rookie mistakes. The summer league does not get the credit it deserves. There are some name players in it.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I do play with a chip on my shoulder. I want to prove every doubter wrong. Every time I play, I am trying to prove someone wrong.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Of course, there has been talk since the draft that the Sacramento Kings got a steal with Cousins at No. 5.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Make up your mind. Either love me or hate me,Ã¢â‚¬Â Cousins joked.
He says Sacramento and Lexington are similar size cities and both only have one basketball team for fans to support.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a lot of love. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s an easy place to adjust to,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I love the fans backing me up. That makes me go even harder. I appreciate it (the support). We had a pep rally after the draft and it was about 1,000 degrees outside and the fans were still there.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We have a young team, but if we work hard I really think we can do some damage this year.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Cousins says he has felt like he has been on a plane every other day since the draft .
Ã¢â‚¬Å“You are your own business. You determine how far you go. If you get lazy, you will be out of the league,Ã¢â‚¬Â Cousins said.
Cousins says he has lost weight since leaving Kentucky and will continue to work on conditioning.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“They say you can never be too conditioned,Ã¢â‚¬Â Cousins said.
Cousins also indicated he could never be too grateful when it comes to repaying his mother. He bought her a new house in Alabama before coming to Lexington.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I owe her the world,Ã¢â‚¬Â Cousins said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Just giving back to her felt good. She got all emotional, but I wanted to do this.Ã¢â‚¬Â
He also wants to continue coming back to Kentucky all he can. He constantly watched highlights flashing on a TV screen during his eight-minute press conference.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It seems like just yesterday we were doing that and now I am gone,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Man, I wish I was still here. I love this place. I wish I could still be here.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I will come back as much as possible. I miss this place. I wish I could even take classes.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Cousins flashed that playful grin after the comment about the classes, but he emphasized Kentucky would be home to him now.
One other thing that has not changed is that he still does not have a driverÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s license.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I am still working on that. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to kill anybody on the road,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.