Robert Sacre won’t go down without a fight


Robert Sacre was so dejected during the NBA draft, he shot his agent a text.

“China sounds nice,’” Sacre wrote.

As time went by and his name still wasn’t called, the 7-foot center from Gonzaga stopped paying attention to the television and started focusing on how he’d respond to the slew of condolences he surely was about to receive from friends and family.

Then the last pick was named. It was Sacre. The Lakers had selected him 60th overall with the final pick of the second round.

“That was the longest day of my life,” Sacre said.

Sacre recounted that moment while sitting by his locker after the Lakers’ 97-91 exhibition loss to the Clippers. He looked like a boxer with both of his eyes bruised and his nose cut, war wounds that he picked up from a hard foul at a recent practice.

When asked to evaluate his chances of making the team, Sacre perked up.

“I feel confident, no question,” Sacre said. “I just have to keep focusing on what I need to do.”

Sacre has taken advantage of extended minutes while Dwight Howard recovers from back surgery. He started Wednesday, scoring 13 points on six-for-nine shooting and grabbing seven rebounds in 34 minutes. But he also committed a quarter of the team’s 20 turnovers.

“He’s learning, he’s growing,” said Lakers Coach Mike Brown. “He did some good things and he didn’t do some good things.”

At times, Sacre was a force in the middle, effectively bodying up defenders. But at other times, he seemed a bit lost, such as when he committed two turnovers at the top of the fourth quarter in a span of under 20 seconds.

“I just have to limit my mistakes and keep getting better and learning from them,” Sacre said.

Sacre said that his role with the team is to be a bruiser.

He was involved in a bit of a tussle with Ryan Hollins at the top of the fourth quarter when Hollins practically bear-hugged Sacre in an attempt to get the ball and there was no call on the play. Sacre responded by bodying up to Hollins, an act which landed him a technical.

“I’m a passionate guy and he was wrapping his arms around me so I didn’t know what to do,” Sacre said.

Overall, however, Sacre’s play has impressed Brown.

“He’s got a big body, he’s not afraid, he’s going to play hard, he’s pretty smart for a rookie,” Brown said.

The Lakers have only one exhibition game left and Sacre hopes he’s done enough in the team’s last seven exhibitions to earn himself a spot on the roster.

Even though Sacre is once again playing the waiting game, this time around he’s not readying himself for bad news.

Instead he’s preparing to fly his 1-year-old son from Spokane, Wash., to Los Angeles.

“As soon as they say the cuts or whatnot, he’s coming down here,” Sacre said.