Zion native Schofield thinks he can follow Brunson's example

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • At the June 20 NBA Draft, Zion native Admiral Schofield is hoping to join a recent Lake County tradition by sticking in the NBA.

    At the June 20 NBA Draft, Zion native Admiral Schofield is hoping to join a recent Lake County tradition by sticking in the NBA. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 5/19/2019 6:27 PM

Tennessee forward Admiral Schofield tells a familiar story among kids who grew up in the Chicago area during the post-Michael Jordan era.

"Every since I was young, my dad handed me these VHS tapes -- 'His Airness,' 'Air Time' and 'Come Fly with Me,'" Schofield said at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. "I used to play those over and over and over. I wanted to be just like Mike, honestly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"Running back and forth, dunking on my Fisher-Price rim, just playing in the house and my family announcing, 'No. 23, Admiral Schofield.' It's always been in my imagination and it's coming to fruition."

Schofield, who starred at Zion-Benton High School, would love to play for the hometown Bulls, but there's a problem. He's unlikely to be picked No. 7 and the Bulls' second-round pick is No. 38 overall.

"Hopefully, I can go earlier than where they pick," he said. "I'm aiming for the first round right now. I think I deserve to be there and I'll be working toward that."

If Schofield sticks, he'll be the third player from the North Suburban Conference to reach the NBA in recent years, joining Stevenson's Jalen Brunson and Warren's Brandon Paul.

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Schofield had a productive career at Tennessee, averaging 16.5 points and shooting 42 percent from 3-point range as a senior, helping lead the Volunteers to the No. 1 ranking for about a month. NBA teams might wish he was a little taller. Schofield measured 6-foot-5¼ in shoes at the combine and a muscular 240 pounds.

"I'm very confident," he said. "Not just confident I can stick, I think I can contribute to any team or any organization that brings me in; not just with my play, but by being a great teammate, being an ambassador for that organization and that community."

In true Chicago fashion, Schofield said he got some deep-dish pizza when he arrived in town for the combine. He's the same age at Brunson, so he's hoping to follow that example.

"Me and Jalen keep in contact," he said. "We've been competing since the feeder league. (Seeing him in the NBA with Dallas) made it surreal for me. But at the same time, it made it seem to me that it's a lot closer."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Fall stands tall:

The star attraction in the measurements portion of the NBA Draft Combine was Central Florida center Tacko Fall, who checked in at 7-feet-7 in shoes, and 280 pounds.

That's a pretty good lead on the second-tallest player at the camp, Oregon's Bol Bol at 7-2½. Fall's standing reach was 10-2, which confirms his ability to dunk without leaving the ground. But can he play in the NBA?

"The things I really do well, every team needs that," Fall said. "Especially defensively with my size, my length, my presence, how I can change the game on that side of the court. I can run the floor, I can move better than people think I can and I've shown it here.

"I have good hands, I'm an easy target. I'm not hard to find around the rim. The more I play, the better I'm going to get. I haven't been playing basketball for very long."

The Senegal native moved to the U.S. and took up basketball at 16. As a senior at UCF, he averaged 11.1 points and 2.6 blocks.

At the combine, Fall was asked what's the best thing about being one of the world's tallest humans.

"Everything," he said. "I'm comfortable in my skin. God gave me this for a reason. I'm enjoying it. I feel like (playing basketball) is what I'm here to do."

Most of the projected top picks skipped the athletic tests, but one player that stood out was 6-3 Tennessee guard Jordan Bone, who posted the fastest shuttle and sprint times, along with the second-highest vertical leap at 42.5 inches.

Zion focused on Pelicans:

Zion Williamson's stepfather Lee Anderson went on the radio to try to quell speculation that the top pick in this year's draft might return to college. Anderson told ESPN Radio in Baton Rouge returning to Duke is not something they've considered.

"I spoke with (Pelicans) coach (Alvin) Gentry the other night and we met with (vice president of basketball operations) Mr. Griffin, David Griffin, and then I spoke with him again," Anderson said. "We had a great conversation and we're excited about the prospects of coming down there and getting settled and looking for a place to stay and all of these good things."

• Twitter: @McGrawDHBulls

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