DeMarcus Cousins tore an ACL on Thursday. If you’re keeping score, in less than two years, the former University of Kentucky Wildcat has ruptured an Achilles tendon and torn a quadriceps muscle. The odds of Cousins returning to his former athletically explosive self get lower and lower. With the latest injury, Boogie has yet another tough road of rehabilitation and recovery ahead of him. The good news is, the Big Blue Nation is once again behind him.
Boogie Cousins was a member of head coach John Calipari’s first recruiting class in Lexington. Cousins and John Wall headlined a group that made Kentucky cool. Sure, the Wildcat program has been a national powerhouse since Adolph Rupp roamed the sidelines and there have been a fair amount of players that were cool, but the 2009-10 Cats were something different. Wall debuted at Big Blue Madness with his own dance. Cousins told the Bulldog faithful in Starkville to call him. That team, though finishing 35-3 and short of the Final Four, returned Kentucky to the top of the college basketball mountain and ushered in a great era of Wildcat hoops.
When Coach Cal was hired on at UK, I was skeptical that his approach to program building, his generous use of the one and done player, would work here. Unlike UMASS and to a certain extent Memphis, Kentucky’s brand was already built. The fans, the vaunted BBN, are as tied to the program and its players as any in the country. As Marquette’s Al McGuire once opined “they had it before you, they had it during you and they’ll have it when you’re gone.” Would players that were only on campus for a short time be able to forge that connection with the program and the fans?
“Hello Mr. President, this is DeMarcus Cousins.”
After a devastating earthquake in Haiti, John Calipari charged his team, then ranked #1 in the country, to man the phones and help raise money for relief. Boogie Cousins was front and center, answering phones and engaging with folks during the telethon. The Cats raised approximately $600,000 for the fund and as a reward, the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, called the team and Cousins made sure Obama knew who he was. Even though he was a one and done player, Boogie had endeared himself to the BBN.
Yes, Cousins has been a knucklehead from time to time and in the NBA he’s racked up technical fouls at a rate equal to annual malcontent Rasheed Wallace. Through it all, he’s been one of us, a star of the BBN. Whatever he’s done, he’s always been our Boogie. We have watched him toil away in obscurity in Sacramento while NBA pundits called him selfish. We have watched as he joined former Kentucky legend Anthony Davis in New Orleans, become an All-Star and then rupture his Achilles. We were there when he joined the Warriors, rehabbed that injury only to injure his quad upon his return. And we were there when he played in the NBA Finals, hobbled as he was, Cousins’ desire to win on display for all.
We, the Big Blue Nation, will be here for DeMarcus Cousins again. He joined the Lakers, again pairing with Davis, and was once again figured to be a big part of a marquee team’s march to a championship. Life isn’t fair, however, and plans are thrown by the wayside. What we know is what a fighter Boogie Cousins is. Boogie will be back. He might not run as fast or jump as high, and that’s ok. Whatever else he does or doesn’t do on the court, DeMarcus Boogie Cousins is a Wildcat and that will never change.