Most of you know that I'm female, married to fellow StR poster Savage Beast, and a mom. In fact, I was unofficially named BlogMom by Otis29 in this fanpost. So I'd like to present my take on our #5 pick, from what I believe is a unique perspective here on Sactown Royalty.
Those of you who have been around a while might also remember an occasional poster by the name of KillerKing. He's my son. To be exact, he is my son who is almost exactly 10 months older than Cousins, and he is currently in the state of Ohio serving an LDS mission, which is why you're not seeing any posts from Killer. (Being in Ohio, he was most excited about Turner as a draft pick, but I assured him that ET was not going to drop to us.)
Having raised Killer, I firmly believe that all of the red flags that have been raised and discussed (and discussed and discussed) can be explained by one simple, yet often overlooked, fact: DeMarcus Cousins is 19.
Killer had a run-in with a teacher as a 15-year-old 9th grader, though not a physical altercation. And while I'm the first to admit that he can be argumentative, headstrong, and downright difficult, I don't believe that the problem was entirely Killer's fault. The teacher, tenured and in his late 50's at the time, baited him, blamed him for things he didn't do, belittled him in front of the class, and eventually banished him from the classroom for two weeks for talking. Talking.
I didn't find out about it until Killer failed his mid-term (understandable, since he wasn't allowed to be in class). After talking to the teacher about the situation and finding him to be extremely antagonistic toward my son, I told Killer to keep his head down and his mouth shut for the rest of the year, or he'd spend the summer as my personal slave boy.
To his credit, he did just that, and he survived 9th grade, but I believe that the teacher, rather than escalating the problem, should have acted like a grown-up and either defused or ignored the situation.
Having also served on the board of trustees of a K-12 charter school (where I moved my boys after Killer's 9th grade debacle), I can tell you that in the two years I've served, there have been no fewer than 3 coaches we had to let go for the same type of behavior that Killer's biology teacher displayed, one of which had culminated in a physical altercation with a student.
So is Cousins' altercation on the bus a red flag, or simply a product of a freshman hothead clashing with an aggressive coach? My opinion is that it is the latter.
Killer, despite his name, and despite being the son of a guy named SavageBeast, is not, by nature, aggressive. In fact, a few years ago, when we had some friends staying with us, one of their sons, a few years younger than Killer, spent a great deal of time punching, hitting, kicking and, pinching Killer, amazingly with no retaliation. Until the last day. Apparently, Killer had had enough, and after a week of being a punching bag, bloodied the kid's nose on their last day together.
The kid's parents were cool about it, mostly because they knew their son deserved it. They even expressed amazement that it hadn't happened much earlier in their stay. But I was still upset, and went into Killer's room to exact an apology and outline the dire punishments in store for him once our friends departed later that day. To my surprise, I found him teary and shaking on his bed. He was sorry, but he just couldn't take it any more and lashed out. He did apologize, but I didn't punish him after our friends left, partly because of his remorse, but mostly because he showed me the bruises that attested to a week of abuse that was more severe than I had known.
Killer was wrong to lash out to the extent that he did, but can you really expect a teenager to indefinitely take a beating from someone smaller than him without losing it eventually? And since Cousins was such a dominant big man in his college games, do you really think he didn't have a target painted on his back by the other teams?
As far as Daniel Orton's comments, my guess is that the two of them didn't get along. That's not a crime, again, it happens. I can't think of a single teenager that is universally liked. My guess would be that there was a personality clash between Cousins and Orton that was exacerbated by the competitive nature of sports and by the amount of time they had to spend together. But there are always two sides to every story. I think Cousins has shown a great deal of restraint by not shouting his side to the media.
Having said all that, though, I will tell you that I am delighted that Cousins' mother is very involved in his life, and that he will be living with his older sister when he moves to Sacramento. Big sisters can do much to influence their brothers' attitudes and help them find their way in the world. But it's always good to have the "momhammer" in reserve for the bigger issues.
The scariest thing in the world for me as a mother has been to send my kids out into the world on their own. You wonder whether you've taught them enough, given them the life-skills to not only make their own way but to be contributing members of society. You hope you've made them strong enough to withstand the crapstorm that is sometimes life. Killer's older sister got married last year, and Killer himself is away from home for two years, only able to write home once a week and call home for an hour each Christmas and Mother's Day.
I was less worried about my daughter, as she's always been the perfect child (just ask her!), but Killer... I worried that either he'd antagonize everyone he met and someone would murder him (completely understandable), or he would break the rules (probably with a very good excuse) and get sent home.
But he's been out for 14 months, and is thriving. He cooks. He launders. He cleans. Everybody he meets is his new best friend. He is exactly obedient. And he's happy, productive and, by all reports, hard-working. He even quotes me to people, which is shocking to me, because I had no idea he ever listened to me well enough to repeat back what I said.
My point is that I can see many of the things in DeMarcus Cousins' past as parallels to what I've seen my own son go through. And Killer always was a great kid. A pain in the butt sometimes, but really, a great kid. I see Cousins the same way. I've never met the kid, true, but I have great hope for him. I mean, if Killer can make it, Cousins should do just fine.
Personally, I like the kid's fire (since I didn't have to raise him) and hope he plays as though he has something to prove.
Welcome to Sacramento, DeMarcus (and sister). You're family now.