Despite previous reports pertaining to the Los Angeles Lakers potentially trading away their No. 17 overall pick of the 2023 NBA Draft, LA ultimately decided to keep their pick. They had their eyes on Indiana standout Jalen Hood-Schifino, who after Thursday's festivities, is now officially a member of the Lakers.
The 6-foot-6 combo guard spoke to the press immediately after being selected by LA, and Hood-Schifino was clearly delighted by how things went down for him on draft night. The 20-year-old was at a bit of a loss for words as he described how this moment felt for him being a huge Kobe Bryant fan as a kid:
“It's honestly really crazy and kinda hard to say how I feel because growing up I was a big Kobe fan,” Hood-Schifino said (h/t beat reporter Sam DiGiovanni of ClutchPoints). “I was always watching his videos, watching the Lakers. So to be drafted by the Lakers is kinda surreal, it's kinda crazy. Like I said, I'm thankful to the organization and I'm super excited.”
Jalen Hood-Schifino said he was a big Kobe Bryant fan growing up and that it’s “surreal” to be drafted by the Lakers pic.twitter.com/Uo5lc0uuxG
— Sam DiGiovanni (@BySamDiGiovanni) June 23, 2023
Hood-Schifino revealed that he's not the type of person who gets too high or too low, but he admitted that he went through a roller coaster of emotions on Thursday night. At this point, he's just extremely pleased that he's going to get to wear the same jersey as his childhood idol.
Jalen Hood-Schifino is no Victor Wembanyama, and it isn't likely that he's going to emerge as an NBA superstar in the near future. However, the Lakers clearly wanted him. Coach Darvin Ham has a plan for Jalen, and LA supporters just can't wait to see him in purple and gold this coming season.