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Keith Smart Makes An Interesting Remark On DeMarcus Cousins' Off-Court Development

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Eric Koreen of the National Post in Toronto has a great column looking at the Sacramento Kings following their visit to the Raptors this week. Included in that column is a very interesting remark Koreen pulled from a chat with Keith Smart.

"He's 21. What was I doing at 21? I was in college with a demanding coach," said Sacramento coach Keith Smart, who took over for Westphal. Smart played for Bobby Knight at the University of Indiana. "A lot of things that happened at 21 for me got corrected while I was in college. He has to do this in front of all the media and all the world in front of a pressured environment."

Smart makes a point to draw a comparison to Cousins' situation and his own at the same age, and makes two key contrasts: Smart had a demanding coach that "corrected" things, and Smart didn't have to get corrected in front of the media and world in a pressurized environment.

The implications are obvious: Cousins has largely not had a demanding coach who has corrected things -- though Paul Westphal certainly tried to be tough at times. The problem seemed to be consistency in enforcement and disciplining the right missteps. (Yanking Cousins from the starting lineup for trash-talking an opponent still mystifies me a year later.) On the other point, Cousins has a tougher slog with media attention both because he's in the pros and because things are a whole lot different in sports media than they were in the '80s. But Westphal's statement to the media on how awful a person Cousins is certainly didn't help minimize the attention or pressure, did it?

I don't mean to imply that Smart meant to intone that Westphal failed -- not by a longshot. But in expressing the situation as he sees it, the implication is simply present. Smart is saying, "This worked for me." By saying that, he's implying that he believes things have not been working with respect to DeMarcus. That's a good realization to hold, in my estimation.