The NBA Draft is upon us, and that means it’s a big night for the Los Angeles Lakers, who hold the second overall pick. While it appears to be a near-certainty that the Philadelphia 76ers will select LSU’s Ben Simmons with the first overall pick, you never know what is going to happen once the draft begins.
What a lot of fans don’t realize is that many of the players that are being drafted aren’t strangers; but instead, they have a lot of experience playing with and against each other in AAU, high school, and college. They form bonds and develop lifelong friendships that transfer with them into the pros.
For example, it’s fairly well-known that Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell played on the same high school basketball team as Simmons, and that the two are friends. Ideally, they had hoped to team up together in Los Angeles, but for now, it appears more likely that it will be Brandon Ingram winding up in purple and gold.
However, Russell is also great friends with Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves. In a recent video by Draft Kings, Towns and Russell sat down to discuss an epic high school game that pitted Russell and Simmons’ Monteverde Academy against Towns’ St. Joseph’s high school.
St. Joseph’s were up by eight points heading into the fourth quarter, but Russell and Simmons were able to lead Monteverde to a comeback win in the marquee matchup. Towns lamented his team’s inability to stop the Monteverde pick and roll, which is still one of Russell’s strong suits today.
Similarly, Russell mentions that no one on his team could stop Towns, who hit a number of fadeaways for his team. Simmons, Towns, and Russell also recently appeared in a commercial together, along with Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns.
With their friendship following them to the pros, it’s great to see young athletes staying connected regardless of which team they play for.