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Daniel Orton: DeMarcus Cousins is 'a loving spirit,' uh, sometimes

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As DeMarcus Cousins' other former Kentucky teammates were going to bat for him during Thursday's media availability at the NBA Draft combine, Daniel Orton didn't exactly do his old pal any favors.

Orton candidly responded to a question about Cousins' temper, calling him "a loving spirit" but admitting he's also seen the 6-foot-11 forward lose control.

"It's kind of like watching a little kid throw a temper tantrum," Orton told the Louisville Courier-Journal. "But it's a big little kid, so you've got to kind of control him before he gets way out of hand. He might hurt somebody, to tell you the truth. You definitely get out of the way if you can't handle him, if you can't stop him. One time I tried holding him back, and that was a mistake. I think he put a swim move on me."

Stories like that certainly won't help Cousins' stock as he tries to prove he should be a top-five pick, but NBA scouts and general managers should examine the improvement he made controlling his temper over the course of his freshman season.

There were early season incidents like his forearm shiver at Louisville's Jared Swopshire and his alleged altercation with a court-storming fan at South Carolina, but Cousins also avoided trouble against Wake Forest's Chas McFarland and flashed his sense of humor when crank calls from Mississippi State fans turned racist.

"People go through a lot of stages," former teammate John Wall told the Courier Journal. "I went through a stage [in high school] when I had an attitude problem, and I worked it out. That's the key [concern] a lot of people have about DeMarcus, but this year showed a lot of how mature he is."

During a media session between Kentucky's first- and second-round NCAA tournament games in New Orleans, Cousins tried to sneak through a locker room littered with reporters by tip-toeing and hiding his face. Of course, someone caught him because it's hard to hide when you're that big, and Cousins dutifully conducted his interviews with a sheepish smile on his face.

That scene summed up Cousins perfectly. He may not be the most mature kid in this draft, but he's good-natured enough that it's hard not to like him.

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