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June 25, 2015

D'Angelo Russell


D'ANGELO RUSSELL:  Man, it's a blessing to be here.  God is good.  I can't really put a nail on how I'm feeling right now.  I feel like busting out like a baby in tears.  I feel like being tough, being strong.  I don't really know how to put a nail on it, but definitely surprised to be here right now.  Just a few months ago I was graduating high school, so to go through a year of college and then be in this position is a blessing, man.

Q.  You're going to the LA Lakers, one of the biggest franchises in the NBA that clearly needs a future star.  Are you that star?
D'ANGELO RUSSELL:  Man, I try to stand out wherever I go and be that star.  I'm just a kid from Louisville with a big heart, big dream, and to be in this position in that franchise, on the West Coast in one of the most beautiful cities in the world is a great opportunity to really take my game to the next level.

Q.  Obviously you're going to be playing with Kobe Bryant next year, a guy you grew up watching.  I know he's kind of towards the end of your career, but what is it going to be like to learn from him over the next year or two?
D'ANGELO RUSSELL:  Man, Kobe is a great dude, like you said.  Not knowing how much he has left in the tank is the scary thing, knowing how much he brings to the game, and if he leaves what we'll lose.  But I'm really looking forward to him taking me under his wing, if possible, and really just feeding me the knowledge, the most knowledge he can and just letting me use that as fire against my opponents.

Q.¬† Just talk about your Ohio State‑themed suit there a little bit.¬† What inspired that decision?
D'ANGELO RUSSELL:  Ohio State did a great job of recruiting me, one.  They was probably one of the first schools to give me the opportunity to go to college, bigger than basketball, to go to college to really get an education.  Thad Matta and his coaching staff, they were beautiful to me, and I really wanted to dedicate my suit to those that really played a huge part in it.

Q.  A lot of people thought Okafor was going to go second.  Did you know ahead of time that the Lakers had settled on you?  And what was the reaction when you heard the news?
D'ANGELO RUSSELL:¬† I didn't know at all.¬† I didn't know at all, man.¬† I'm still in shock.¬† I mean, you only can go by the rumors months ago that‑‑ what everybody was saying was going to happen.¬† But dreams come true, and life is not fair for people that don't agree to the decision that the front office made. ¬†But I'm here, and I'm ready to make an impact right away.

Q.  We had a player here, D'Angelo is not a common first name, we had D'Angelo Harrison of St.John's.  I was wondering if you ever crossed paths at all.
D'ANGELO RUSSELL:  No, I don't know who that is.

Q.¬† A lot of people thought you would fall to Philadelphia.¬† Are you glad you're not going to be part of that rebuilding process, something that seems to be‑‑
D'ANGELO RUSSELL:  Not at all.

Q.  Why not?
D'ANGELO RUSSELL:  This is like a recruitment process all over again.  I definitely want to give them a praise for even taking the chance to look at me.  If I would have landed in Philly, it would have been a blessing.  If I would have landed in New York, if it would have been the 23rd team, I would have been satisfied.
But just to get the opportunity to go second, it's a blessing.

Q.  D'Angelo Harrison just texted me and said he speaks highly of you.
D'ANGELO RUSSELL:  Shoutout to him for having the same first name.  I know he got a lot of tatts.  That's as much as I know.

Q.  Tell me a little bit what the Big Ten slog prepared you for going in, seeing hostile environments every night.  Do you think you're going to get that on the road with the Lakers?  Tell me what you're prepared to hear and see.
D'ANGELO RUSSELL:  Definitely Big Ten was one of the most strongest, most powerful leagues in college basketball.  You've seen how much success the Big Ten teams had in the tournament.  A lot of people in the world hate the Lakers and a lot of people in the world love the Lakers.  It's just something you've got to deal with.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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