Young stars from college, Orlando takes precedence. Banchero and Holmgren are also in contention, but the chosen one seems to be the 19-year-old from Auburn
Between the two litigators in the end it will most likely be the third to enjoy. Jabari Smith was the third wheel behind Paolo Banchero and Chet Holmgren throughout the NCAA season in the race for the first overall choice of the 2022 Draft, scheduled for Thursday in Brooklyn. Instead, now there is little doubt that he will be the first to be called by commissioner Adam Silver on the stage of the Barclays Center, to start his career in Orlando, which has the first choice. The NBA fell in love with 19-year-old Smith because in his year of college at Auburn he shot 42% from three, despite being 208 centimeters. And why, even if he’s not a finished product yet, he has the potential to become an All Star.
Jabari, why do you think you should be the first call to the draft?
“Because I know how to make a difference both in attack and in defense and I’m ready to do whatever it takes to make my team win. And I know how to do it.”
What would that first call mean to you?
“It would be fantastic, the best way to start my career. There are many players in history who have been absolute number 1 in the Draft: being one of them would mean a lot to me and would give me a great chance to demonstrate what I am at this level as well. I can do”.
What do you think of Paolo Banchero and Chet Holmgren, your competitors for that first call?
“They are two fantastic players. I have followed them all season: they are two selfless talents, who have contributed to the success of their teams. I think they are really great players and they have an important future in the NBA ahead of them.”
Which NBA players are you looking forward to meeting?
“There are many players that I admire, but the ones I would like to face immediately are LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony: they have been my idols since I was a kid.”
Is it part of the LeBron generation, then?
“Yes. I really got hooked on the NBA when LeBron was taking over from Kobe Bryant as the reference player. Kobe was on the wane but he has remained a great player for a long time, one I have admired and followed.”
“As a player able to adapt to any game system. I can play both as a winger and as a center, I can use my three-pointer to widen the field. And I can defend against any opponent, from play to center.”
What will allow you to be successful among the pros?
“My willingness to do whatever it takes to help my team win, to be ready to do whatever it takes. And for how I know how to defend: I will make a difference.”
He only met Orlando and Oklahoma City, the teams with the top two picks: why?
“Because I don’t think I will be chosen after the second call and it is with this mindset that I went through the pre Draft process.”
“Two teams with a great future, made up of talented young people with whom I think I can get along well. They are both going in the right direction.”
What did they make her do?
“I met the managers and coaches of both teams, as well as the main players. We talked a lot, about me and how I would be in the team. About my future. And then I worked on the pitch.”
You only stayed in college for a year – how much of that experience do you have left?
“I would not trade it for anything in the world. I found a home in Auburn, I have built relationships off the pitch that will last a lifetime. I have had an experience that has gone far beyond the field. And that will help me cope with what awaits me in my career “.
June 17 – 11:06 pm
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