The Lakers selected Chinemelu Elonu from Texas A&M (via Nigeria) with the 59th overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. A 6-10 junior, Elonu was drafted after the Lakers traded the draft rights to Patrick Beverley – whom they’d selected at No. 42 – to the Miami Heat for a future second round pick.
“Basically it’s keeping in line with our philosophy with the draft,” said Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak. “We ranked the players in the draft and we ended up getting the guy that we thought would be the 34th best guy in the draft at 59.”
Kupchak said that Elonu would likely play for the Lakers in the summer league and have a chance to make the team depending on if he’s “as good as we think he is.”
“He’s a wonderful person,” Kupchak added. “Great kid. Plays hard. He’s developing, every year he’s getting better and better.”