The Los Angeles Lakers introduced their No. 30 draft pick, Josh Hart, who spent the past four seasons with Villanova, which included an NCAA championship in 2016. Hart chats with Lakers Nation about the misconceptions of four year players and what he hopes to contribute to the organization.
Hart also talks about why he chose to finish out his senior season at Villanova, despite being able to get drafted after his junior year. Plus, the 22-year-old takes a question from the fans!
Q: Sitting up there next to Magic Johnson, what’s going through your mind?
Kind of a surreal feeling, just a blessing and honor, thankful to him, RP (Rob Pelinka), the Buss family, for letting me be a part of this storied franchise and he’s a winner and that’s something I pride myself on.
Q: You made the decision to stay your final year in college, when you could have easily left after the championship year at Villanova. Why was that so important to you?
I was definitely at odds with that at first, because obviously this is a dream, you want to be in the NBA, but I just knew that it was in the best interests of my family, of myself, to stay one more year and to develop a little bit more, get my degree, which was huge for me, and come into the league a little more polished and contribute right away, and that was the biggest thing. Its not about just getting there, it’s about having a long career there, so staying one more year would put me into the best position to be successful.
Q: I’m sure you’re aware of the criticisms of being a four year guy, things like ‘safe pick,’ but ‘low ceiling,’ but you got drafted to a team in the Lakers that have had a lot of success with guys who have spent more time in college, what do you say to those critics?
This is the first time in history that being 22, you’re considered old, so that’s kind of weird, but I think the ceiling is as high as you want it to be. If I came in as a four year player and I thought I knew it all then my ceiling wouldn’t be that high, but I’m coming in, hungry to learn, wanting to get better, and I have that work ethic, so when you have all of those things all put together, with a great coaching staff like this, a great franchise, they want to see you be successful, want to see you get better, I think that’s the perfect situation. I don’t really care what people say about four year guys because at the end of the day those are guys that really know how to play basketball, you don’t have to groom them, you don’t have to put them on the bench for two or three years and see what happens to them. We have that toughness, we have that grit to us, you saw that when Malcolm Brogden won Rookie of the Year this year and those guys are able to come in and contribute right away.
Q: Well one thing that you have that nobody else has is that 2016 NCAA championship status, so what do you hope that brings to this organization?
Just a mindset of winning and that’s the biggest thing for me. I don’t really care about points or anything like that as long as this team wins, as long as this franchise is going in the right direction, that’s all I really care about, just taking that mindset, taking things I’ve learned at that level and trying to bring that here.
Q: Question from the fans, did you find that place to go eat after asking fans to give you a spot on Twitter?
Nah, I didn’t, I went with my brother and my host dad to a steakhouse. I’m going to have to find out a good hole in the wall when I have that one cheat day every now and then, so you guys have got to tweet back at me and give me those good spots.