Coach K: 'Cousins has cemented himself' as Team USA's backup center

Carlo Campo
Brad Penner / Reuters

Before Team USA finalized their roster for the upcoming FIBA World Cup, DeMarcus Cousins was already oozing confidence. He insisted he had zero worries about cracking the 12-man squad, telling reporters on Friday night: "Y'all will see."

The confidence paid off as Cousins made the final cut, but there were then doubts over where he'd fit in Mike Krzyzewski's rotation. Coach K has consistently referred to a "core group" of nine players since the team's preliminary training camp in late July, and whether or not Cousins would be part of that group was up for debate.

On Thursday, however, that debate was put to rest as Krzyzewski told that "Cousins has cemented himself as the backup to starting center Anthony Davis."

In what was something of a foreshadowing, Cousins, who is still recovering from a bone bruise in his right knee that was suffered earlier this month in Chicago, was the fourth player off the bench in Team USA's 101-71 win over Slovenia Wednesday.

Fellow bigs Mason Plumlee and Andre Drummond now look to be on the fringes of Coach K's rotation.