Check out quotes from Monday’s introductory press conference, featuring Ranadivé, D’Alessandro, Malone, McLemore and McCallum.
Kings Majority Owner Vivek Ranadivé
“On behalf of the Sacramento Kings, I want to extend a very warm welcome to Ben McLemore and Ray McCallum to Kings Nation – a big welcome to you guys and your family and friends. I wanted to introduce these two incredible young men to the city of Sacramento. These are truly amazing guys.
“Ben’s story is the stuff of legends. This is the story of triumph and hard work over adversity – success against all odds. This is the stuff movies are made of. This is a young man (who), when he was a kid, didn’t know where his next meal was going to come from, and he went on to become part of and shine at one of the country’s great basketball programs. I know what Ben’s motto is ‘Stay humble, stay hungry,’ and these are words we can live by, as well. I know you were known as ‘The Savage,’ so we want you to be humble and hungry, but we also want you to be ‘The Savage.’
“Ray is also a very impressive young man. Coming out of high school, he was one of the most sought-after basketball players in the country and he, too, stayed humble, stayed hungry. He’s a smart kid who decided to play for his dad – a great coach in his own right – and everybody knows I love coaches’ kids.
“So, we’re very excited to have these two young men. What you’re seeing here is the future of the Sacramento Kings.”
On being able to relate to the draftees’ stories:
“You can’t help but love a story like that. This is the ultimate David vs. Goliath story. And in many ways, the Sacramento story was a David vs. Goliath story and we prevailed. These are amazing young guys, and we are very fortunate to have them. Ray, and his character, and his decision to stay loyal to his dad – he has an amazing court IQ that we’re fortunate to have on our team. Both of these guys are amazing.”
Kings General Manager Pete D’Alessandro
“There’s not much more to say. We spoke a lot – Michael, Vivek and I – on Draft Night about how excited we were and are about these two young players. This isn’t about us today – it really is about them. I want to turn it over to them, but I can’t resist my line I had on Draft Night, ‘The Macs in Sac.’ Here they are.”
On the Draft being the new front office’s first roster moves:
“It (felt special) that night and does today. We got to spend some time – we had dinner with both of these young men, their families and friends – (there’s) a great feel, a great fit for us. The excitement’s still there – I don’t think it’s going to change. In either round, had you told me that morning of the Draft it was going to end up like this, then it’s a good day’s work.”
On atmosphere at Kings Headquarters on Draft Night:
“It was a hunch or a hope – I’m not sure which it really was. The one thing I knew was McLemore was the guy we wanted. We all felt very strongly about it. I worked pretty hard to try and force it, and then it just came. He’s here right now with us. It was a great thing for us.”
Kings Head Coach Michael Malone
On the first time he became aware of McLemore and McCallum:
“I think most of us knew about Ben (since he played for a) big-name program at Kansas. During the NBA season, as a coach, you don’t get a chance to watch college as often as you would like because you’re so engrossed with your own job, but you catch different games and highlights here and there. I definitely knew who he was, but once we got here to Sacramento and we started getting ready for the Draft, watched film and had tons of discussions, and once Pete came on board, he was a guy who we identified as a talent we hoped we could find a way to land. As Vivek talked about, he fell into our laps on Draft Night and we were all celebrating when it happened.
“I think the thing that stands out for me when you talk about Ben McLemore is he has the rare combination of being a top-notch shooter – a guy who can shoot with range – as well as being an unbelievable athlete. A lot of times you have guys who can do one or the other. The thing that excites me about Ben is he can shoot it from deep – stationary, on the move from deep – as well as his athleticism and explosion – getting to the basket, playing above the rim – which is something that really excites me, and I’m sure our whole fan base.
“The one thing I’m going to ask both of these guys to do is to buy in on the defensive end of the floor – make a commitment to that end of the floor – and to help us in rebounding.
“When you talk about Ray McCallum – a coach’s son – he has a great feel for the game. He learned a lot from his father. (He’s) a point guard who is also a terrific athlete. We have two guards in our backcourt who can play well above the rim, which is exciting. But more importantly, with Ray, he has a great feel for the game (and he’s) a very good rebounding point guard. I believe he averaged a little over 5 rebounds per game and (he has the) ability to take care of the basketball and run his team. They both bring a lot of different things to the table, things that will help us tremendously on the floor next year with their athleticism, explosiveness and their youth.”
No. 16 Ben McLemore
“I want to thank everyone for coming out today. It is a special day for both of us. I’m happy and excited to be here and blessed to put on this jersey for the Sacramento Kings. Words can’t explain how happy I am. I’m enjoying this moment with my new family – the Sacramento Kings – and this new program we’re about to build, together as a family. I’m just blessed to be here and have this opportunity. Thank you.”
On his overall emotions:
“I’m just happy to be here and have the opportunity to get picked by the Sacramento Kings. Like I said, I’m blessed to be here with Ray and the organization. (We’re) going to be coming in and building something great – I’m glad I’m part of it. Words can’t explain how happy I am, how happy my family is – I’m ready and excited to start my journey.”
On his basketball inspirations:
“I think it’s just the people around me – my family members. In high school, I looked up to guys like Paul Pierce and LeBron (James), but at the same time, I just had great people around me, and my family members all played basketball. So I felt it was the thing that kept me going – I just picked up the ball and kept playing, (improved) and grew taller. I just stayed in the gym, working hard each and every day to get where I am. I’m just happy I’m at this point in my life.”
On his Draft Night experience:
“I was just waiting my turn – just enjoying the moment, being there, especially in New York (for the) first time. Just enjoying the experience, being there and with my family. I enjoyed the process leading up to the Draft. I couldn’t sleep the night before the Draft – I was too excited, I guess. It still hasn’t hit me. I enjoyed the process of being there, sitting in the Green Room, (with) my family and not knowing where I was going to end up. When I was called by the Sacramento Kings, I was just happy, excited and blessed. I’m just ready and excited. I’m too excited now.”
On the significance of his jersey number:
“No. 16 means a lot in different ways. It can also mean 7 – lucky number. I’ve been wearing No. 23 all my life – my two bothers and three sisters. I thought of choosing a number that could symbolize a part of me. I chose 16 (in honor of) my mom and her six kids. It definitely has a meaning to it, so I’m going to rock this for the rest of my time with the Kings.”
On not having to worry about the past:
“It’s going to mean a lot. At the end of the day, it’s not going to change the person I am. I’m a person who likes to give back, and hopefully down the line, I’ll have a chance to give back to my community. Now, just to say I can take care of my family is just a blessing and a dream come true.”
No. 3 Ray McCallum
“I just want to say I’m truly blessed and excited to be here – happy to call Sacramento my new home alongside Ben. It’s kind of a new era here – new arena being built, (which will) be finished in about 3 years, a young team, a great organization for the two of us to grow in. I think we’re two players who are really going to come in from Day 1 to help this organization turn it around and be on the positive side. I’m really happy to call myself a Kings player and I’m excited to get this thing started. Thank you for welcoming me with open arms, and (I’m) truly excited.”
On his overall emotions:
“I’m extremely excited. This is something I’ve (wanted) to do my whole life. This is my dream – everyone’s dream who plays basketball is to play in the NBA someday. I feel like it’s a great opportunity for Ben and me. There couldn’t be a better organization to come in and try to establish and make a name not only for myself, but also for the organization – try to bring it back on the map. Something I wanted to do when I was in college (was) stay at home, play for my dad and help bring the program back. I feel like it’s something Ben and I can do here – help bring back the organization and get it back to the top of the League. We’re both winners and that’s the goal, so I’m really excited to get things started.”
On his decision to attend the University of Detroit:
“Coming out of high school, I was a McDonald’s All-American, had the opportunity to play just about anywhere, but then I waited until my senior year, took some visits to some schools. At the end of the day, it came down to trust and who had the best interest in me, and I decided to stay home and play for my father. It’s something I don’t regret at all. To play for him for three years, it’s the greatest opportunity I had. I grew as a man and I grew as a player, as well. But in high school I had to make a tough decision, whether to go off on my own and go to a big-time school or stay home and be loyal to my dad and get better. Like I said it, I don’t regret it – I’m here today. I’m honored getting into the NBA. I can call myself a Sacramento Kings player and who knows if it would have happened if I’d went somewhere else.”
On his basketball inspirations:
“I would have to say my family and my father – especially, my dad. He gets a lot of credit for (my development) as a player. He’s put the ball in my hands since I was born. My first time actually playing the game for real was at one of his camps probably when I was three or five years old. He had me out there playing and, over the years, in the gym. My mom and sister (took) me to AAU tournaments – my inspiration is my family.”
On the significance of his jersey number:
“No. 3 is just the number I’ve worn since I was a junior in high school. I’ve had success with the number in high school and I’ve had success with it in college. So, I figured, Why not take it to the next level and just keep going with the number that’s gotten me this far?”
On his Draft Day experience:
“It was a fun and exciting day, but at the same time, it was nerve-racking. I stayed home and watched it with my family. I had to wait four hours and 10 minutes for my name to get called. It was a long night for me, but when I got the call from Pete and Coach and everybody, I was extremely excited. (I was) happy to finally hear (my) name get called, especially to a great team, great organization and somewhere where I knew I could grow as a player. By far, definitely, it was the longest four hours and 10 minutes of my life. I’ll never forget it.”