One of the rumors that has been flying around the intrawebs today is that DeMarcus Cousins, as the crowd was rushing the floor at the Colonial Like Arena last night, punched a fan twice before being removed by a member of the Kentucky staff.
Well, a radio host in South Carolina witnessed it, and this morning on his radio show, that student called in. His account of the incident:
As the students were getting ready to rush the court, I had my head down just plowing through the crowd, because you want to try and get past the girls in the yellow coats. So as I'm doing that, my head's down and all of a sudden I bump into this big body. Of course, I look up and its none other than Cousins. I'm like, great, its the biggest guy in the whole coliseum and I bump into him. Well, first he gives me a little chicken wing and then I get a cold cock in my right cheek, and it knocked me for a loop. I just looked up at him and smiled and kept going. But he gave me at least two good licks.
The host goes on to talk about how, after the incident, he saw the student that was hit and asked him if he was OK, to which the student replied "Yeah, man. It was worth it."
I don't know if this story is true. There is no video of the incident. There are no pictures. Any truth to this story rests entirely on the shoulders of a radio host and a kid that called into his show.
Not exactly the Lord's word.
That said, this isn't the first time that Cousins' temper has been an issue. If you remember, against Louisville earlier this month, he dropped an elbow on the head of Jared Swopshire just 45 seconds into the game. Some started questioning whether or not Cousins would be able to handle an entire season without snapping again.
If this is, in fact, true, I know that Cousins was wrong. You can't hit someone, especially when you are a 6'11", 260 lb behemoth that doubles as a star athlete for arguably the most popular sports team in the country.
Still, I would find it really difficult to put a lot of blame on Cousins.
There is a reason you aren't supposed to rush the court. There is a reason that the South Carolina security staff surrounded the court. There is a reason the SEC has instituted a system of fines, reaching as much as $50,000*, when students descend on to the court, or the football field, after a big win.
It is precisely to avoid incidents like this.
Remember, despite his size, Cousins is still just a 19 year old kid. 19 year old kids, when put in stressful situations (like losing the first game of your college career despite playing your best game in front of a raucous road crowd), sometimes make bad decisions. Sometimes, 19 year old kids throw punches. I know I threw a couple punches in my younger days, and I don't consider myself a bad person.
The student admitted that he ran into Cousins.
To defend himself.
I'm not trying to take any of the blame away from Cousins. If he threw a punch, he should probably face some sort of disciplinary action, whether it is a suspension, a benching, or simply some extra conditioning drills after practice. He'll deserve whatever he gets.
Just like that student deserves what he got.
I enjoy a good court-storming as much as anyone, and last night's was one of the best I've seen in a long time. That said, anyone that runs on the floor, especially when your path to get there involves getting "past the girls in the yellow coats", should know that they are someplace they don't belong. And if they do something dumb in this place the don't belong - say, run into the biggest player on a basketball court - then should be prepared to pay the price.
In this case, it was a couple of shots to the face from a future lottery pick. If there was a riot and you happened to be running around in the streets, you may get tear-gassed. You may get arrested.
And you may get away unscathed with a great story.
But one thing's for sure. If you do get gassed or thrown in cuffs, you won't get any sympathy from me.
Neither will this kid.
(*South Carolina was fined $25,000 last night for allowing the students to storm the floor. It was their second violation, as they were fined $5,000 for a court-storming five years ago against, who else, Kentucky. People are already pushing for the fine to be given to Haitian relief efforts.