Jalen Hood-Schifino: Being Drafted By Lakers Is ‘Surreal’ After Growing Up Fan Of Kobe Bryant
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The 2023 NBA Draft is officially in the books for the Los Angeles Lakers, with the storied franchise coming away with two solid prospects in the form of Jalen Hood-Schifino out of Indiana University and Pepperdine’s Maxwell Lewis.

Shortly after hearing his name being called to go to the Lakers at No. 17 overall on Thursday night, Hood-Schifino addressed the media and talked about what it’s like to be drafted by the 17-time NBA champions.

“It’s honestly really crazy and kind of hard to say how I feel because growing up, I was a big Kobe fan,” Hood-Schifino said.” I was always watching his videos, watching the Lakers. For me to get drafted by the Lakers is kind of surreal and kind of crazy.”

Most players in this draft class grew up watching Kobe Bryant win titles with the Lakers while playing alongside Pau Gasol, which makes it no surprise they may idolize and or be a fan of the Hall of Famer.

Along with being a massive Bryant fan, Hood-Schifino will likely win over most of the Lakers faithful due to his confidence heading into his rookie campaign with the purple and gold.

Hood-Schifino let it be known what he’ll bring to the team moving forward.

“Yeah, for one, thank you to the Lakers’ organization for obviously selecting me,” Hood-Schifino said. “But to my teammates and the fans there, they’re getting a big-time player and even better person. Just somebody who is going to bring it every day, push the people around me. Just someone that is going to work hard.”

That kind of mentality always tends to do well in Los Angeles, as it will almost certainly help win over the avid fans of the iconic franchise while potentially leaving an impression on the coaching staff, teammates and front office.

Along with seemingly having the right mindset heading into the next step of his basketball journey, Hood-Schifino can’t wait to soak up the knowledge from superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

“I just got drafted to obviously a historic and great organization,” Hood-Schifino said.  “The organization is only getting better and better. Obviously, they’re competing for championships.

“For me to get drafted there, I’m going to bring it every day, like I said, try to impact as much as I can and learn from the guys that are there, especially for one of the all-time greats, LeBron James, and AD and the rest of the guys. It’s going to be great.”

Although Hood-Schifino is arguably a lottery-level talent, it remains to be seen whether he can make enough of an impression on the coaching staff to merit playing time during his rookie campaign, especially with the team yet to dive into NBA free agency to address needs on the roster.

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