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Basketball VP Vlade: "I'm no rookie" As Kings Draft Cauley-Stein

Sacramento Kings

Sacramento Kings

The Sacramento Kings first-round draft pick of 2015 says Sacramento "felt like home" when he worked out for the team earlier this summer.

Willie Cauley Stein was selected sixth in Thursday night's draft. The 7-foot center from Kentucky average 8.9 points per game and 6.4 rebounds in 25 minutes per game for Kentucky. He also shot 58.8-percent from the free-throw line.

Kings Vice President of Basketball Operations Vlade Divac says Demarcus Cousins will have an able front court teammate in Cauley-Stein.

"Blocking shots, rebounding, he's a tall guy, very quick. His footwork is probably the fastest (for a) big guy I ever saw."

Divac says that quickness will be important playing in head coach George Karl's style of basketball. But, Divacs says no one told him who to pick and that he told no one who he was going to pick.

"Before I made the decision, I asked coach, Who you like? This one or that one?' Obviously, I knew who I'm gonna pick. He said same guy. So that was good. Me and coach -we have a lot of common stuff."

Divac says not telling anyone who his pick was was part of him asserting himself as the head of basketball operations.

"I have so much respect for my coach and I felt bad to do something that I didn't want to do, but that I didn't like to do, but that I had to do. I had to send a message, not just for the coach, for everybody there."   

Divac addressed his need to assert himself as stories of rifts in the organization between owner Vivek Ranadive and coach  Karl were incorrect.

"It was a problem. But, it wasn't Vivek and George. It was me and George. You know, so, I'm here who can talk with the media, I'm here that gonna talk with the agents. I respect my coach, and I think he's great, but, he has to trust me to do my job and that's all."

Both Cauley-Stein and Cousins attended Kentucky. Cauley-Stein told NBA.com he looks forward to them playing together.

"You always feel like, you know, that's family, you know, regardless. If I know his background and he knows mine. We played for the same place and went through the same type of stuff as each other in college. Automatically, that's my older brother. That's my big brother. He's gonna take me under his wing.  Him and Coach Cal (Kentucky head coach John Calipari) have been talking and Coach Cal has been relaying me messages between them. I'm excited to get out there and work with him."  

Putting Cousins in the role of mentor would be a new role for Cousins, who had been viewed as a talented big man with maturity issues before he played for Team U.S.A. last year and made the All-Star team.

Divac says he looks forward to everyone on the court and in the front office adjusting to their new roles and working together.

"You have to have chemistry and that's what we try to do. Maybe we didn't have it yesterday or two days ago, but we are intent to have good chemistry going into training camp, starting with summer league."

The Kings do not have a second-round pick this year. Divac says he tried to make a trade for a pick that would allow him to select a point guard, but some other general managers tried to take advantage of him and he rejected their offers.

He says some of the players on last year's squad will be traded and he will look to the free-agent market to improve the team.  

Bob Moffitt

Sacramento Region Reporter

Bob reports on all things northern California and Nevada. His coverage of police technology, local athletes, and the environment has won a regional Associated Press and several Edward R. Murrow awards.   Read Full Bio 

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