Give Quinn Cook all the credit for Duke teammate Jahlil Okafor’s being indoctrinated about the Lakers.
So if Okafor falls to the Lakers at No. 2 in the NBA draft on June 25, perhaps the Lakers can give an assist to Cook for making the 6-foot-11 center fully aware of the team’s history.
Cook and Okafor were teammates on the Blue Devils’ 2015 national championship team and roommates on the road.
Cook said he “forced” Okafor to “watch Laker games with me in the hotel” because Cook is a big fan himself.
Okafor worked out for the Lakers last week, and he knew a lot about the dominant big men who wore the purple and gold, freely talking about Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O’Neal.
And it turns out that Cook is the one who immersed Okafor into Lakers lore.
“Him, his father and his aunt, I’m right there with his love for the Lakers,” Cook said Monday after his predraft workout with the Lakers. “No, I mean, he’s ready. He’s ready. He carried us this year. He was our best player and he helped us win the national championship and I know he’s ready for June 25th. We’re all ready. Everything will fall in place.”
Cook’s workout with the Lakers was with Travis Trice and Branden Dawson from Michigan State, Aaron White from Iowa, Treveon Graham from Virginia Commonwealth and Vince Hunter from Texas El Paso.
All of them are aware that the Lakers won’t use their second overall pick on them, but they could be taken with Los Angeles’ 27th pick in the first round, 34th overall pick in the second round, or be asked to join the team as a free agent.
They know that Kentucky center Karl-Anthony Towns and Okafor are considered the top two players in the draft.
On most draft boards, Towns is expected to be taken first overall, by the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Cook said that if he had the first pick, “I’d take Jahlil.”
But then Cook’s love for the Lakers came out again.
“Hopefully he falls to two,” Cook said about Okafor’s possibly being selected by the Lakers.
The Lakers haven’t been about to get Towns in for a predraft workout.
They are planning on getting a second workout with Okafor and guards D’Angelo Russell and Emmanuel Mudiay before the draft, but it would’t be open to the media, a Lakers spokesman said.
But if the Lakers do draft Okafor, who is mostly known for his low-post moves, Cook said they will see a big man who has the ability to shoot the ball.
“He has tremendous touch,” Cook said. “Obviously, we had a lot of guards out there [at Duke], so we had to do four around one [center]. A lot of the time if he was one-on-one, he would score 80% of the time. But he was getting doubled, so he couldn’t really face up.
“He had a lot of face-ups against Wisconsin the first time we played them. They do a lot of spacing [in the NBA], so he can showcase more. His jump shot is something that really impresses me.”
Follow Broderick Turner on Twitter: @BA_Turner