In case you haven’t heard, DeMarcus Cousins allegedly threw two uppercuts at one of the USC students that stormed the court after the Gamecocks victory over UK last night. College Hoops Journal has the best report, with quotes from both the eyewitness (Bob Shields, of WLTX CBS) and the victim, some kid named Stephen. This Stephen character had the following to say about the incident:
“I had my head down, just kind of plowing through crowd, just because you want to get past the girls in the yellow coats. … So as I’m doing that, my heads down and I bump into this big body. And, of course, I look up and it’s none other than Cousins. I’m like, Great, biggest guy in the whole Coliseum right now. … First he gives me a little chicken wing and then I get like a cold cock in my right cheek, and man it knocked me for a loop. … He gave me at least two good licks.”
Shields’ account seems to support the students’ claims:
“We did a live shot right after the game. I see many fans swarming the court. One in particular looked like he was trying to duck the security guards. While he was still bent over, DeMarcus threw what I saw was two little uppercuts. A big fellow like that can throw a much bigger punch than he did. But he definitely swung twice. Somebody from the Kentucky bench, somebody in a suit, grabbed DeMarcus as quickly as it happened and the kids after he got hit.”
Deadspin claims to have the audio of Stephen’s interview on Shields’ radio show this morning, but if you can get it to work you’re doing better than me. I went to 107.5’s website to see if I could find it there, and despite having podcasts of the UK-USC game and several post-game reactions, there’s none that seem to include Stephen’s call in this morning.
The question now is, Should DeMarcus Cousins be punished for what may or may not have happened last night? There’s no video evidence (at least not yet) of the punches, so that’s one thing he has going for him–it’s hard to punish someone for something they’re denying and you can’t prove. But with that said, Cousins’ track record with losing his temper and the matching reports from Shields and Stephen make it tough for even the most biased Kentucky fan to act like there’s no truth to this story. Not that you need to be reminded, but Cousins is the guy that did this. It’s not like punching a guy in the face would be totally out of character for him.
But as far as punishment goes, I don’t think Kentucky needs (or maybe has is the better word) to discipline Cousins right now. At the moment, it’s not even a story. However, if ESPN or other networks begin to pick up on it, it could lead to some bad press for UK and some sort of suspension would almost have to be in order. You simply can’t allow your star player to scatter a student’s teeth across the gym floor and not punish him for it. Not for moral reasons, it’s just bad PR.
Let’s wait and see how this one plays out. It’s fine for now, but things have the potential to get interesting.