SPOKANE – “Hello LA.”
That’s how Gonzaga University senior center Robert Sacre began his conference call with the Los Angeles Lakers after they made him the 60th and final pick of Thursday’s NBA Draft.
The pick was the only selection the Lakers had in this year’s draft.
“I was thinking best for last. I was selected to go to one of the best teams in NBA history,” the 7-0, 260 pounder said.
When asked about his role with the Lakers and his blocked shot prowess, Sacre said he takes pride in his defense.
"Defense wins championships. Offense wins games and defense wins championships. I take a lot of pride in my defense,” Sacre said. “"I think it's going to be very similar to Ronny Turiaf's role - shut my mouth, know my role and help Kobe (Lakers star Bryant) get another ring."
Sacre, who watched the draft in New Orleans where he had a workout earlier in the week and is in his birth state of Louisiana, becomes the third Bulldog to be drafted in the second round by the Lakers. He joins Paul Rogers in 1997 who was the 54th overall pick and Turiaf who was the 37th overall pick in the 2005 draft.
Sacre becomes the 20th Bulldog taken in the history of the NBA Draft, a list that includes Ian Mahinmi who signed a letter-of-intent to attended Gonzaga in 2005-06 but never donned a Bulldog jersey after being selected by the San Antonio Spurs as the 28th pick in the first round of the 2005 draft.
Adam Morrison, the third overall pick in the 2006 draft by the Charlotte Bobcats, was traded to the Lakers where he won a pair of NBA championship rings. Turiaf is the only other Bulldog to win an NBA title, doing so this year with the Miami Heat.
Sacre was a crowd favorite from the day he arrived on campus. He finished his career with 1,270 points to rank 21st on the Bulldog career charts and grabbed 679 rebounds for sixth all-time. As a junior and senior he was named to the All-West Coast Conference first team, and this past season was also named the WCC Defender of the Year. His 60 blocks this past season rank fourth all-time, and he also holds the second and third spots on the single-season list. His 186 career blocks rank second. As a junior he was selected to the National Association of Basketball Coaches All-District Nine second team. He started 113 of his 136 career games.
Sacre, born in Baton Rouge, La., and raised in North Vancouver, British Columbia, was named the Gonzaga Senior Male Athlete of the Year this past spring.
The NBA Draft was reduced to two rounds in 1989.