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Cousins takes prank calls, waiting to answer them against Varnado

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MBSK 09_10 UK_TN Web 55.jpgIf DeMarcus Cousins doesn't have an unlimited calling plan, he better hope he has some rollover minutes. He'll need them after all the prank calls he's received this week.

The freshman forward isn't quite sure how his cell phone number got circulated among the Mississippi State fan base, but his digits have become a speed dial number for some Bulldog fans. Since Saturday's Tennessee game, Cousins has received around 100 prank phone calls and approximately 1,000 text messages.

At least he has unlimited texting.

"Whew, did I (receive calls)?" Cousins said. "It was crazy. It started like right after the game. I got called some n-words, some b-(words). It kind of made me mad in the beginning but now I'm like answering the phone and having a conversation with them."

A number of callers phoned in with good old fashioned trash talking while others crossed the line with racial slurs and taunting.

"Some were racial and others were girls saying, 'Let's make out,' so I don't know what to expect in Starkville," Cousins said. "There were a lot of Mississippi numbers. I won't be a part of (the making out)."

To his credit, Cousins has taken it all in good fun. Despite questions about his maturity, Cousins never lost his cool, even when one of the pranksters called him and interrupted him during the middle of an interview.

A more mature, more polished Cousins appears to have handled the verbal abuse quite well, but it might be a different story when he has to face the nation's No. 1 shot blocker and soon-to-be NCAA leader in career blocked shots, Jarvis Varnado, on Tuesday.

Entering Tuesday night's game, Varnado needs just 17 more swats to be become the NCAA's one-man block party. He'll have an opportunity to cut into that number when he faces Cousins in one of the most anticipated interior matchups of the season.

"I love his athleticism, I love his length and I love his ability to block shots," said Calipari, who tried to recruit Varnado in high school. "Let me tell you, there's a skill to that. I had one guy named Marcus Camby who was exactly the same, who had guard kind of skills and physique but was tall and long and would block shots. (He has) unbelievable timing. You think you get a shot off and he's getting it. You try to go into his bodies and his arms are too long. You can't get that one over him.

"He's the reason everyone shoots a lot of jumpers against Mississippi State. That's why you shoot a low percentage. That's why they (are fourth in) the nation in field goal percentage. His presence in there gets guys to pull up and take shots that they don't make as easily."

For as well as Cousins handled the prank calls last week, one has to wonder how he will deal with the humiliation in a hostile environment if Varnado gets a hand on his shot. What's that old saying about sticks and stones? It failed to mention pride, although Cousins doesn't seem to be concerned with a blocked shot or two.

"I get my shot blocked by Daniel (Orton) all the time (in practice)," Cousins said.

Cousins was then asked if he was "scared" or facing Varnado.

"Scared? Nah, never," Cousins said. "It's a challenge. It's just another matchup. (A.J.) Ogilvy, Varnado, I've just got to go play my game," while adding that he'll probably have to add a pump fake or two to his repertoire.

If there is any prior indication of how Cousins may handle getting blocked, the Georgia game might offer the best evidence. During that game, Georgia's Travis Leslie posterized Cousins with a one-hand dunk over the 6-foot-11 forward.

Cousins never flinched and finished with 16 points and seven rebounds. In postgame interviews, smiles abound, Cousins shrugged off the dunk.

Last game against Tennessee was really the first time Cousins had shown any type of frustration since the South Carolina loss. With a nationally televised audience watching his every move, Cousins scored just five points, which tied a season low.

"I was playing mad," Cousins said. "I was getting beat up a lot. Every time I would go up for a rebound they would grab my arm and it wasn't getting called, so I let my frustration get to me."

It was noticeable at the free-throw line, where made just 1-of-8 foul shots.

"I wasn't thinking about the free throw," Cousins said.

On Friday, Calipari said he wasn't worried about Cousins' last outing.

"He walked in yesterday when we had a walkthrough (and) he didn't say one word," Calipari said. "He just came over and hugged me. He basically was saying, 'I'm sorry, do you still love me?' Without saying it, that's what he was saying. I just laughed and said, 'You're fine.' "

"These are kids. We want to act like they are 25 years old or 40-year-old veterans, but they are young kids. He couldn't get out of his own way. He couldn't do it. He tried. I tried to hug him and squeeze him, tell him 'I love you,' but it did not matter. He could not get out of his own way. But, he learned. You can't even make a free throw when you're mad. You can't do anything when you're mad."

So too knows the Mississippi State fan base. That's why they'll keep calling and keep prodding. They want to irritate Cousins. They want to make him mad.

Cousins could pull a Varnado-like swat and block the calls, but he's opting to hold on to his digits for a few more days. He has other ideas in store for the callers.

"I'm going to change it after the game," Cousins said. "I want to see what they have to say then."

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Way to keep cool Cousins!! It just goes to show that those "dogs fans" are scared! Keep your head in the game and good things will come to pass! The Big Blue Nation is behind you guys and thats all that matters!! We love ya'll!!

Class, class, class! That's how you want to keep playing! You are a PLEASURE to watch &
coach Cal will give you the right direction! Promise Yourself that you will focus & stay in "your zone"!!! IT'S TRUE the "BIG BLUE NATION" LOVES YOU GUYS!!!

We all love ya demarcus use this as motivation and pone those arogant bulldogs! Demarcus don't dance he BOOGIE!

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  • Meg: We all love ya demarcus use this as motivation and pone those arogant bulldogs! Demarcus don't dance he BOOGIE! read more
  • Coach S. Hawkins: Class, class, class! That's how you want to keep playing! You are a PLEASURE to watch & coach Cal will read more
  • castandblast: Way to keep cool Cousins!! It just goes to show that those "dogs fans" are scared! Keep your head in read more