LAS VEGAS — What do you do when you’re picked second-to-last in the NBA draft by the league champions, who have a stacked roster and have nowhere to stash you while they determine whether you’re a decent player? Well, if you’re Chinemelu Elonu, you pack your bags for Vegas, put on your widest grin and try to impress the Lakers. Elonu is a 22-year-old forward/center who averaged 10 points and seven rebounds last season for Texas A&M. If he’s worried about his future with the Lakers, he’s not admitting it publicly.
“Just being drafted by them is exciting,” Elonu said. “Summer league has been a blast, a blessing from God. We (Elonu and Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak) haven’t talked much. I’ll just try to hustle and play good defense and rebound and run the offense the right way.
“Oh man, I was with my family and friends watching the draft on TV. I heard the dude call my name and I was numb. I was very overwhelmed. There’s nothing better than to get drafted by the world champions.
“I hope the Lakers invite me to training camp (in October). Mitch told me they look for guys who bust their butts. I’ve only been playing ball for six years now. I still have a long, long ways to go. But I’ll go out there and work on my post moves.”
Elonu was born in Nigeria, but picked up the game when he moved with his family to Texas. He attended high school in Houston and was a fan favorite at Texas A&M.