The upcoming 2022 NBA Draft is filled with prospects who project to be useful role players at the next level.
This bodes well for the Los Angeles Lakers, who will most likely need to dip into the undrafted free agent pool for talent unless they buy a second-round pick. So far, their draft workouts have featured players who are either mocked to go in the second round or undrafted.
One notable name is UCLA’s Jules Bernard, a wing who showed some shooting chops from the outside. The deadline for players to officially declare for the draft was on Wednesday, just hours after Bernard worked out for L.A. He decided to stay in the draft, marking the beginning of his professional career.
Bernard ended up staying local for college and he believes his time at UCLA prepared him well to take on the NBA.
“One thing that I feel like translates well is a winning mentality, a competitive mentality and that’s something I’ve carried on throughout my career.
“And having a coach like Coach Cronin at UCLA who is all about winning no matter what, he’s so passionate about the game. Having those similar mindsets and being coached by someone like that, it helped me a lot. He understands what it takes to win and for me, I feel like that’s something that translates, understand what gets you on the court, what helps your team win. And for me that is playing extremely hard, playing defense, guarding multiple positions, knocking down shots, taking care of the ball, learning how to adjust in your situations. Obviously at UCLA, I went through a coaching change so learning different styles and how to play in different styles, so my time at UCLA I feel like really helped prepare me for the next level.”
As a Southern California, it was only natural Bernard named Kobe Bryant as his favorite player growing up.
“Yeah, it’s amazing. Just growing up and watching Kobe, watching the Showtime Lakers, well, that was a little before my time. But growing up watching videos of that and then watching Kobe, obviously my favorite player, it’s amazing to just put the jersey on and workout for this team. I’m someone who is about winning. I went to UCLA because of the winning culture there, 11 titles and the legacy that players have left at UCLA. And just to be here and see the trophies up in the window above the court I’m working out at, it’s an amazing feeling.”
As far as a potential fit with the Lakers is concerned, Bernard thinks his skillset and experience will help him no matter where he ends up. “For me, I’m always gonna be ready and I’ve had a lot of experience in college and I understand the game.
“I feel like I have the ability and the mindset and the experience come in and affect the game right away. Obviously there’s a lot of great players here and for me, just learning and knowing how to mesh and fit in as a piece of this team or any team, I feel like I have that mindset coming in with whatever team, especially in this situation where there’s a lot of older guys. For me, I feel like being a sponge will help me a lot too. You have a lot of great minds on this team and just taking in as much information as possible and being a competitor.”
Jules Bernard reflects on Final 4 run
Bernard is used to playing in high-stakes games as he was on the Bruins team that made it to the Final Four in 2021. He reflected on the run and called it something that will stay with him forever.
“That was an amazing run. Obviously we wanted to go all the way and Jalen Suggs hit a really tough shot but that was definitely a moment I’ll remember forever. That team and that run and how we battled a lot of adversity coming in as an 11 seed and playing in the first four in game and then all the way to the Final Four. Definitely something I’ll remember forever.”
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