In this first of a 4 part exclusive, Sacramento Kings’s Big Man DeMarcus Cousins opens up to Ekalavyas about growing up in the rough neighbourhood of Mobile, Alabama, the huge supportive role his mother played and the lessons learnt in AAU and NCAA basketball….
- How did you start playing basketball? What drew you to this game?
By the time I was 14, I was already over six feet tall. While walking in my middle school campus in eighth grade, a coach saw me and asked me if I wanted to play on the school’s basketball team. With a little push from my mom, I decided to join the team. I was good right away. I could score easily and I started getting attention from scouts. Everyone kept telling me to take it serious and I had a future so it made me want to get even better.
- What was the atmosphere like growing up and playing basketball in Mobile? How did basketball play a role in you staying out of trouble and on the right path in a rough neighborhood like Mobile, Alabama?
I realized that basketball could actually take me places and my mom really wanted to me to get a college education. I knew that if I ever wanted to play college ball, it would take a lot of dedication, focus and hard work. I just remember spending most of my days practicing and playing pick up. I really stayed out of trouble because I really didn’t have the time which was good. Every weekend was a tournament, every day a practice, every day a game is what it felt like.
- The Basketball Federation of India (governing body of basketball in India) incorporated the structure of the US school and college basketball system last year for the Indian School & College Basketball Leagues. How did the US system, where the competition and talent increases as you get further along in your career, help you develop as a player?
Starting at AAU LeFlore Magnet High School at the age of 14, I was able to play with and against players with similar levels of skills to mine and to learn from coaches who really knew the game of basketball. The competition increased with age and by the time I entered the NCAA, I was working harder than I had ever done before. I can definitively say that AAU and NCAA helped me develop my talent to allow me to contest at a professional level.
- Your mother has been your support system throughout your life. Tell us about the role your mother has played in your journey from a boy in Mobile, Alabama to an All-Star prospect in the NBA.
My mom is my biggest supporter. I feel blessed to have her in my life. Growing up, she put everything aside to allow my siblings and me to have the best life possible. From driving me to practice to helping make the right choices on schools and teams, she is the reason I was able to excel and become the NBA player I am today.
Part II coming soon…
*To vote for DeMarcus Cousins into the 2015 NBA All-Star Game, post the following status update on Facebook or Twitter: DeMarcus Cousins #nbaballot