OAKLAND -– The Warriors’ introduced their latest draft pick, Kevon Looney, on Friday at their downtown facility. He grew up in Wisconsin, has fallen in love with California and seems genuinely delighted to join the NBA champs.
Here are seven questions and responses that will help every fan get to know the 6-foot-9 forward from UCLA, taken with the 30th overall pick in Thursday’s draft.
His name, by the way, is pronounced “Kah-VON.”
1) Many schools pursued Looney during his career at Hamilton High in Milwaukee. Why bypass the Midwest schools to go to UCLA?
“My dad always taught me to try to get a good experience and go somewhere you could see yourself living for the rest of your life,” Looney said. “And when I went to UCLA and it was an amazing campus. When you in there and see all the tradition, all the banners and all the legendary players they’ve had . . . I just felt it was right.”
Looney took official visits to UCLA, Florida, Duke, Tennessee and Michigan State. He took many unofficial visits to Wisconsin. Stanford was one of his original 10 finalists.
2) Although he played every game at UCLA, there were reports about an injured hip. How is his health?
“I don’t think I would have played as many minutes as I did at UCLA (31 per game),” he said. “My hip should be able to hold up pretty well. UCLA has great doctors. Golden State has great doctors. As long as I do rehab and get the right treatment, I should be OK. I played the whole year, played a lot of minutes and I lasted throughout the season. I didn’t miss any games or any practices, so I feel pretty confident about it.”
The injury was sustained, according to Looney, last July and reinjured last October.
3) Is Looney’s hip going to require surgery?
“I don’t think so,” he said. “I talked to the doctors. People told me to rest. If I rest, it should be able to get better, as long as I do rehab. If I really want to fix it, it’s up to me or the team. But I can still play 100 percent with it being how it is. (Surgery) is really just optional. If I get a couple weeks of rest, which I haven’t had, I probably could be 100 percent.”
4) Is there anything about Looney’s stills that might surprise people?
“I would just say my playmaking ability, how good I am with the ball,” he said. “I didn’t really dribble or create for others, because of the group we had. I’m really good at that and it’s something I like to do. As long as I get better and continue to get stronger and learn from these guys, I think I’ll develop that even more.”
5) Warriors general manager Bob Myers said Looney is capable of yanking the defensive rebound and dribbling coast-to-coast to the hoop. True? Does that imply Looney might be able to handle some point guard duties?
“I’m real comfortable doing that,” he said. “I should have done it more at UCLA. I’m going to look to do it more here. I’ll continue to learn from guys like Draymond Green; he does it all the time. I’ll learn some pointers from him. And you have big guys that can play point guard, like (6-7) Shaun Livingston, and I can learn from him. So I think I can get better.
6) How far along was he when he received his first recruiting letter?
“The first I got was from Yale,” he said. “My mother was all excited, like, ‘You’re going to go to Yale?’ I was like, `Ahh, nah.’
“I was in the ninth grade. I actually got my first offer in the ninth grade.”
7) How does he think he’ll fit in with the Warriors?
“I see myself like how Draymond Green plays,” he said. “Or (Andre) Iguodala, somewhat. I think I can do things like that. I know I’m going to have to get better and stronger. But I think if I learn some pointers from the guys, I’ll be able to help and make a contribution.”