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By LARRY VAUGHT

Vaughtsviews.com reader Taylor Hafley just made me aware of a terrific story on DeMarcus Cousins at http://nba.fanhouse.com/2010/12/17/demarcus-cousins-reputation-precedes-him-deceives-you/?icid=main|netscape|dl4|sec1_lnk3|190843.

Writer Sam Amick offers a terrific profile on the Sacramento rookie from Kentucky that portrays him a lot more like UK fans remember Cousins and a lot less like the troubled, immature rookie that he has often been labeled during his first professional season.

Here’s an excerpt I thought you would enjoy:

The team had already scheduled a number of charity events for this holiday season that would involve numerous players, including one at a later date to the same UC Davis Shriner’s Hospital for Children he is at now. But Cousins had asked to make an additional visit on his own, one that didn’t come with a press release but that did give him a chance to indulge in one of his favorite pastimes: making children smile.

The second oldest of six siblings and self-described family man isn’t used to being so far from his loved ones. His mother, Monique, flies in from his hometown of Mobile, Ala., at least once a month and calls every day, but the next best thing to family is Rogers and the the nation of Kings fans that is hardly feeling the love these days. But as his extended family of Wildcats fans back in Lexington, Ky. certainly know, Cousins always enjoys the kids.

One of his favorites in college was 12-year-old Olivia Pruitt, whose touching experience with Cousins last year was chronicled in the local media and who will be receiving a present from him this Christmas. A passing mention of the Pruitt encounter prompts Cousins to remember another youngster he adores — a 7-year-old named Jacob who will also receive a present from Santa Cousins late next week.

“He was so funny,” Cousins recalls of the boy. “I had a great relationship with his family.”

This is the paradox of his personality. Cousins, by his own admission, is guarded and untrusting of people and their motives. The pain of past experiences has made him that way, from the absence of his father growing up to the way, as he sees it, he was demonized by so many people he never met. Yet away from the floor, those who know him best say he’s far more teddy bear than grizzly bear. And just as he can scowl and snarl with the best of them, he has an ability to be open and warm with strangers, too, a charming trait that he’s about to put on full display.

Remember how Prewitt’s mother, Jamie, shared the story of driving her to Lexington last year in hopes that they might meet Cousins. After a long ordeal, it worked out. He posed for pictures with Olivia and her brother that we posted here and struck up a friendship that obviously still continues. I’m hoping her mother will share the Christmas gift story with us as well.

I know Cousins has had some problems on and off the court in Sacramento. But as we learned last year, he really is a teddy bear and it is nice to see at least one NBA writer who has picked up on that.

3 Responses to Playful Cousins still likes helping kids

  • Gary says:

    Great story Larry these days we look for the bad in others. Very seldom are the positives brought to life. It’s good to see someone is opening the book and looking past the cover for the whole story.

  • King Ghidora says:

    I read that story about a week ago and I was really glad to see him get the good press he deserves. What really irks me is that Cuz is still stuck with that thug label that the friendly neighborhood Dick Vitale stuck on him forever. Yes he had some problems in high school but to talk him down in his first national game the way Vitale is totally unforgivable. It’s just one more in a long line of horrible abuses by Vitale. He has damaged Cousins for life. I hope he’s happy that he not only cost him prestige but also a LOT of money. Cousins didn’t deserve to have his high school actions made into a national obsession. He took more abuse than any 10 players while at UK and he stood tall through it all. But big mouth Vitale stuck him with that label anyway. Ugh I can’t stand that human.

  • larryvaught says:

    You tell them King

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