Most of the headlines and hype surrounding players the Los Angeles Lakers selected in the 2016 NBA Draft will (justifiably) go to Brandon Ingram, the perfectly fit the team picked second overall who continues to say all the right things.
Somewhat lost in the shuffle will be the player the front office spent the 32nd overall pick on, Ivica Zubac, a 19-year old center out of Croatia. But while he may be relatively anonymous to most Lakers fans until-- and if --he catches their attention with his play, Zubac certainly did his best to endear himself to the fanbase of the team, which he actually considers himself a member of.
While some prospects seem to just have talking points from their agents to say about what it means to be drafted by the Lakers, Zubac's conference with the local media following his selection made it clear that the 7'1, 265 pound center may be literally the world's biggest Lakers fan:
Zubac is far from just an excited fan whose dream is coming true, though. While he may not be a familiar name, several respected talent evaluators are pretty high on him:
Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak is also happy with his second round pick, and hopes he'll be available for Las Vegas Summer League:
Just don't ask Kupchak to pronouce Zubac's name (it's E-veet-sa Zoo-botch):
Mitch Kupchak's opening to talking about drafting @ivicazubac: "Don't ask me to pronounce the name okay, especially not at this hour."— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) June 24, 2016
Mitch had one of his international scouts say Ivica Zubac's name on the call to the NBA to make sure the correct guy was drafted— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) June 24, 2016
Kupchak was joking around, and if Zubac plays up to his potential, his boss (not to mention his fellow Lakers fans) will learn his name soon enough.
If you want to check out some of Zubac's best work on the court, you can do so at this link. You can follow this author on Twitter at @hmfaigen.