NBA Scouts see Cats take down Ole Miss

Kentucky coach John Calipari doesn't think any of his players knew there were over 20 NBA scouts here Tuesday night.

Kentucky coach John Calipari doesn't think any of his players knew there were over 20 NBA scouts here Tuesday night.

However, Calipari certainly made it clear that freshman DeMarcus Cousins played like a pro after No. 4 Kentucky beat Mississippi 85-75. The UK coach was asked if he had ever had a player quite like Cousins.

"There is not a big man, including in the NBA," said Calipari, the former coach of the New Jersey Nets. "I hate to do that to the kid and now I am losing my mind again (and talking too much). My team (the Nets) was not very good up there. Let me put it that way."

However, Calipari didn't back off his praise for Cousins, who had 18 points, 13 rebounds and four blocked shots. It was his 13th double-double of the season and fifth straight, something no UK player has done since Jim Andrews had six in a row in 1973.

"He is a skilled player who can make free throws. He can pass. He has a great mind for the game and emotionally he is growing day by day," Calipari said. "I have never had a player come this far this fast. Never. Now he still loses his mind and I take him out. He is still maturing." Calipari says Cousins, like other teammates, still makes mistakes.

"Stuff he does sometimes, he can't help himself," the coach said. "But he is a special player and special young man."

Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy, who watched Cousins in high school, certainly agrees.

"DeMarcus is playing as well as any post player in the country. He has the whole package. Size, speed, strength. He is a handful," Kennedy said. He says Cousins slightly reminds him of former NBA player Chris Washburn.

"Size, talent, unbelievable ability. The kid has certainly taken college basketball by storm," Kennedy said.

Kennedy said the "metamorphosis" Cousins has made to become a productive, consistent player has impressed him.

Cousins took the praise in style and said he's just trying to withstand the physical play opponents are using and keep his emotions in check to help his team.

"They are doing anything you can think of to me," he said. "I have a big scratch across my back now. I don't know how it got there. It is burning, but as long as we win, it's all good. "I hope I am getting better. I am trying harder and harder. I know there's a lot more I can still do better, but I am glad everybody thinks so highly of what I am doing."

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