Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sacramento Queens are no more

The Sacramento media was introduced to rookies DeMarcus Cousins and Hasaan Whiteside Saturday afternoon and there is more than one first impression.

1) Coach Paul Westphal, who along with President Geoff Petrie represented the organization at the press conference, has just become a better defensive coach.

2) These two youngsters are as baby-faced as they are long.

3) Whiteside's mother, Debbie can pass as his sister - easily.

4) If Whiteside can defend as fiercely as naturally as he can make a group laugh, there'll be many an opposing player wondering where his shot went.
Said Whiteside, who briefly worked out with Hall of Famer, Hakeem Olajuwon, "He was scoring a lot on me, but I was trying my best."

5) If Cousins is overweight, then what am I? I know he was dressed in a sweet grey suit and all, but this kid is hardly Oliver Miller. He looked svelte and well-proportioned.
And Cousins said all the right things, "I want to work on my conditioning."
From what I hear and have seen, if Cousins becomes well-conditioned, he's going wreak havoc.

6) It was good to relocate my right hand after it disappeared inside the bear claw Cousins used to shake hands. The boy has meat hooks.

7) For the Kings sake, the organization only can hope these two kids remember the darts thrown in their respective directions by untold written and verbal assassins during the entire draft process.

8) There are many different ways lives can change and Whiteside's mother spoke of a terrible incident that she believed played a major role in Hasaan's development.

"Do you remember a couple of years ago when some kids were murdered in a park in Newark (N.J.)?" she said referring to the August 2007 case that became nationally known after three college students were killed and one more was severely injured.

The students were lined up against a wall and shot execution-style. Natasha Aeriel, then 19, survived and was able to identify the assailants. Aeriel, three years later, this May graduated from Delaware State University and also testified in the trial in one of the six linked to the killings.

Mama Whiteside continued, "That was when Hassan was living in Newark and that park where the kids were killed was the one he used to play in when he was living with his father. I used to always tell him to be careful. And he would say, 'Mama, all I do is go back and forth from home to play ball and then back.'
"But I think that situation was an eye-opener for him because after that he wanted to come back to Gastonia (N.C.)."

Hasaan spent one year averaging 18 points, 10 rebounds and 5.5 blocked shots during the 2006-2007 season at East Side High School in Newark.

Then he returned to Gastonia and attended Hope Christian (Charlotte) and the Patterson School in Lenoir, N.C., where he was recruited by UConn, Louisville and West Virginia among others.

That's not the same East Side High School in nearby Paterson that became famous after the movie, 'Lean On Me,' and principal Joe Clark highlighted some of the madness that occurs in inner-city school.

Hasaan Whiteside's NBA bio explains his father, Hasaan Arbubakrr, played with the Minnesota Vikings and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Arbubakrr was a defensive end, who went to Texas Tech.

In a different situation, Hasaan Whiteside, who just turned 21 June 19, might have been a high jumper. His moves and stride scream 'smooth athleticism.'

The type of athleticism that hasn't been seen around these parts in a seven-footer - ever. Whiteside clearly is highly coordinated. He led the nation in blocked shots last season at Marshall with 5.35 per game and fouled out just once in 34 games.

At Marshall, Whiteside was schooled by assistant coach, Darren Tillis, the Boston Celtics' first-round draft choice in 1982.

Man, I'm old. I covered the 6-foot-11 Tillis in 1983-84 when he played with the Golden State Warriors.

The Kings believe Whiteside is a forward, not a center. They also believe Whiteside has quite a bit of work to do before he can play an integral role.

However, a future pairing of Cousins and Whiteside, say in two, three years when they are, 21 and 23, respectively, looms as a combination potentially lethal around the basket.

A baby-faced wall that could erase all mention of the Queens.

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