Brooklyn, New York — Here is what Skal Labissiere had to say after being picked by Phoenix who had traded the pick to San Antonio where he’ll join three other former UK players.
THE MODERATOR: If you could start off with an opening statement, feelings about today, please.
SKAL LABISSIERE: You know, at first I was a little nervous, but after a while it was just — I was excited about the whole thing. I know that God has a plan for me and that I was going to fall into the right place, right team.
Q. What was it like to sit there and wait and even guys coming out of the stands picked and going to the stage?
SKAL LABISSIERE: It was tough at first, but one thing about the league, one thing about all of us now, everything starts over for all of us. We all start over once we get to that level. I’m excited to get to work. I know I have a bright future ahead of me.
Q. And you said yesterday that you thought maybe five years from now you could be considered the best player in the draft. How much did this experience maybe shape that belief?
SKAL LABISSIERE: I still believe it. I’m about to go to work, so I’m going to control what I can control.
Q. Sacramento was a team that had expressed a lot of interest in you. The idea of being in Sacramento with DeMarcus, another Kentucky guy, how do you think the fit is?
SKAL LABISSIERE: I think it’s going to be a good fit learning from DeMarcus Cousins, Willie Cauley-Stein is there and I know him pretty well. Rajon Rondo, who’s a really good point guard. I think they’re going to help me a lot.
Q. Does it take some of the pressure off that you’ve got all of those guys around you and you can go and be you?
SKAL LABISSIERE: I think so, guys I like to talk to. Like Coach Cal told me when I got drafted, those guys are your brothers now. I’m looking forward to being around them and learning from them.
Q. There was obviously some sort of frustrating moments there at the table. Everybody at your table looked kind of down at different points and I know Cal did even at some points but he kept looking across the table and encouraging you. What was he saying to you?
SKAL LABISSIERE: Just that, “You’re good. You’re going to be fine. You should use that as fuel to get better.” He told me how good I was.
Q. Did you enter into today thinking this might be a possibility, that there might be an opportunity for this to happen? Did you prepare for that, or is this sort of something that just caught you by surprise?
SKAL LABISSIERE: I was prepared for anything. Anything could happen. I could have got picked earlier and got traded to somewhere else. But everything happens for a reason. I firmly believe that.
Q. Now that you’ve come into a situation as you’ve discussed, where there’s a healthy amount of bigs on that roster, where do you focus on trying to make your impact? What can you bring to the table Day 1 that might help you carve out your niche?
SKAL LABISSIERE: My versatility. I’m very versatile. I can do a lot of different things on both ends of the floor, and I’m ready to go to work. So I’m not going to shy away from it.
Q. What do you think is going to be your biggest challenge in Sacramento? You’re going to have someone like DeMarcus Cousins and other people to play with and learn from, so what will be the biggest learning experience?
SKAL LABISSIERE: The biggest learning experience, I think that will be for every rookie, getting used to the speed of the game, the physicality of the game. I’m going to work really hard to put weight on, get stronger. That won’t be a problem for me. Those two things I would say.
Q. What do you know about Sacramento the city and the area?
SKAL LABISSIERE: I’ve never been there, so I’m about to find out soon.