Kings Select DeMarcus Cousins and Hassan Whiteside in 2010 NBA Draft

Kings Select DeMarcus Cousins and Hassan Whiteside in 2010 NBA Draft

-- Kings Select Kentucky’s DeMarcus Cousins in First Round
Kings select Hassan Whiteside with the 33rd pick in the second round --

SACRAMENTO, CA, June 24, 2010 -- The Sacramento Kings tonight (Thursday, June 24th) selected Kentucky’s DeMarcus Cousins (5th overall) and Marshall’s Hassan Whiteside (33rd overall). Cousins, the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Freshman of the Year, was named to the Associated Press First Team All-America and the John R. Wooden Award All-American Team.

An early entry candidate, the 6-11, 270-pound Cousins averaged 15.1 points (.558 FG%, .604 FT%), 9.8 rebounds, 1.8 blocks, and 23.5 minutes per game in 38 appearances while leading the Wildcats in rebounds and blocks. He was second on the team in scoring. Cousins recorded a freshman conference and school record 20 double-doubles and scored in double-figures in 31 contests. He tallied 20 or more points in four games, including a career-high 27 vs. Sam Houston State (11/19/09) and at South Carolina (1/26/10). In 21 games, Cousins recorded two or more blocks.

Cousins becomes the third freshman chosen by the Kings in the lottery, the second in the last two years after the Kings selected Tyreke Evans after his freshman season at Memphis in the 2009 NBA Draft. Spencer Hawes (10th in 2007) was the other freshman chosen by the Kings in the lottery. Cousins and Whiteside are the fourth and fifth freshmen selected by the Kings, joining Evans, Hawes, and Gerald Wallace (2001, 25th). The Kings have selected an early entry candidate in six of the last seven drafts.

Cousins becomes only the second player to be selected out of Kentucky by the Kings, joining Bob Guyette who was drafted in the third round of the 1975 NBA Draft.

As a senior for LeFlore High School in Mobile, Ala., Cousins averaged 24.1 points, 13.2 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 3.2 blocks, and 5.1 steals per game. Named a Parade All-American, Cousins was also a member of the 2009 USA Junior National Selected Team.

This is the fifth time in the last seven years and the third time in the last four years that two players from the same school were selected in the top five of the NBA Draft. In 2008, Seattle drafted UCLA’s Russell Westbrook with the fourth overall pick and Memphis followed by selecting Kevin Love. In the previous year, Ohio State’s Greg Oden was the first overall pick by Portland and teammate Mike Conley was the fourth selection by Memphis. In 2005, North Carolina teammates Marvin Williams (Atlanta, 2nd) and Raymond Felton (Charlotte, 5th) were drafted. In 2004, Connecticut teammates Emeka Okafor (Charlotte, 2nd) and Ben Gordon (Chicago, 3rd) were selected.

Whiteside, also an early entry candidate, was the 2010 Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year after averaging 13.1 points, 8.9 rebounds, and a Division I leading 5.35 blocks per game in 34 contests for Marshall. The 7-0, 235-pound center set school records for most blocks in a season and career with 182, the fourth highest season total in Division I history and the second most by a freshman. He led the nation in triple-doubles with three.

Whiteside also garnered the following honors: AP Honorable Mention All-American, Sporting News Second Team freshman All-American, Second Team All Conference USA, Conference USA All-Freshman Team and All-Defensive Team, Second Team NABC All-District 11.

He tallied 17 points, 14 rebounds, and 11 blocks vs. Brescia (12/16/09) to become the first freshman in conference history to record a triple-double. His next triple-double was a 14-point, 14-rebound, 10-blocked shot effort at Central Florida (1/13/10). Whiteside recorded 14 points, 11 rebounds, and 13 blocks vs. UCF (2/27/10).

Whiteside blocked three or more shots in 32 of the 34 games he played in and 20 times swatted away five or more opponent attempts.

He played prep basketball at the Patterson School in Lenior, N.C., in 2008-09, leading the school to a 34-2 record and a No. 1 national ranking. His father, Hassan Arbubakrr, played for the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Whiteside becomes just the second player from Marshall drafted by the Kings. Current New York Knicks head coach Mike D’Antoni was selected by the Kings in the second round of the 1973 NBA Draft.

“This is really an exciting day for us overall, taking DeMarcus Cousins with the fifth pick and Hassan Whiteside with the 33rd pick,” Petrie said. “Sometimes it’s the long and short of it. Today was the long and long of it. I think in DeMarcus we got an exceptional talent at the center position. He’s going to get us great size and skill in the post. He’s an outstanding passer, and we’re just really excited to add him to the frontcourt we have now with Samuel (Dalembert), Carl (Landry) and Jason (Thompson). I think we’ve gotten significantly bigger and longer, more talented and more skilled. With Hassan, we had him in here twice for workouts. He’s a great athlete, but still needs to learn how to play some and mature a little bit, but he shoots the ball very well. He has an incredible knack for blocking shots off the ball and he’s somebody that we’re really looking forward to working with. So, all in all I think we really added some skill and length and depth to our frontcourt, which is something we’ve been trying to rebuild for the last several years.”

“I think I'm going to fit in pretty good. I think I'm the perfect piece to the puzzle,” Cousins said. “I'll be a physical presence down low, bring a toughness to the team, and hopefully we'll win games."

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