EL SEGUNDO, Calif. On the night of the 2011 NBA Draft, the Lakers used their second pick in the final round to choose sharp-shooting guard Andrew Goudelock from the College of Charleston. He was the nations fourth-leading collegiate scorer, averaging 23.4 points per game, and he averaged over 40 percent from behind the three-point line. His range on the floor was seemingly endless. Yet he wasnt quite sure hed be taken in either round. But once Mitch Kupchak called his name, he quickly showed another ability to talk...and talk...and talk.
The voice coming out of the speakerphone on draft night at the Lakers practice facility was filled all at once with happiness, emotion and plenty of confidence. He said how pleased he was to prove the doubters wrong and get drafted out of a smaller school, especially by the Lakers. Then, he uttered the lines that would prove to be his mantra: I havent seen a shot I didnt think I could make. I have a lot of confidence and I will shoot the ball all game long.
Yes he will.
And hes done it so well that its earned him a spot in the teams bench rotation, becoming the reserve coach Mike Brown looks to when the Lakers need some quick points off the bench. Its also earned him a nickname from Kobe Bryant Mini-Mamba.
Whatever nickname he wants to give me, Ill take it, said the 23-year old. Its a very big complimentespecially coming from the real Mamba.
Needless to say, the real Mamba has been impressed by his protg.
Goudelocks really found a good rhythm out there for us; found his niche, said the future Hall of Famer. Coach Brown gave him an opportunity and he came through, which is really important for us. If he and the rest of the guys coming off the bench dont do their jobs, that means I have to come back in and play the whole second half; Pau (Gasol) does and so does Andrew (Bynum).
Goudelock realized the responsibility that came with his opportunity, and raised his game to a whole different level.
When I first got here, he said after a recent practice, I think I was in a little bit of awe of the players and just (being in the NBA). But in the last week or so, Ive been more aggressive. I let my talent take over you know, just play the game and not think too much out there.
I know as I become more well known around the league, teams are going to scout me and try to find ways to stop me and make me (alter) my shots. But the types of shots I take are had to defend, because I dont take wild shots. Being young in the league there are times when I do take wild shots, but not very (often). Its pretty hard for someone to block a floater, which is why I do it. (It seems to be rubbing off on his bench-mates as well, with Jason Kapono and others working with coaches after practice on that floating jump shot.)
After playing 13 minutes and scoring six points in the Christmas Day opener an 88-87 loss to Chicago Goudelock hit double figures in minutes only once in the next nine games. He scored just ten points in the first ten games he played in; hes been a DNP - Coachs Decision eight times. Then came the tense battle with the Clippers in which Mini-Mamba started to show the type of force he can be off the bench.
He went 5-for-8, scoring a season-high 14 points in twenty minutes to help the Lakers pull out a 96-91 win in the second Battle of L.A. Since then, hes averaged 20.4 minutes per game, scoring at a 9.8 ppg pace. Hes been the Lakers only consistent reserve as Brown continues to look for the right mixture off the bench.
Hes definitely stepped in and taken over that role, Brown said. Hes been ready whenever weve called on him and has done a good job. Hes very confident out there; he knows what we expect of him and he tries to deliver. Hes not intimidated by the pressure of playing in the NBA, thats for sure.
One of the reasons for Goudelocks emergence, he feels, is because he played college basketball all four seasons he was eligible.
Ive never played point guard before, so Ive definitely had to make adjustments, said the 2011 Southern Conference Player of the Year. It goes back to Charleston for me. I played four years there, and Coach (Bobby) Cremins taught me so much about everything, including attitude. We played big schools every year, and we did pretty well against them.
I think the biggest thing I learned, though, was that you have to be confident. You cant be intimidated and you cant be shy out there. Id played against guys who went to the NBA, so I knew the talent level and what I had to do to make it.
Being at the College of Charleston really prepared me, helped me grow into a man. Im 23 and a lot of the rookies coming into the league with me are 19, 20 years old, and I think that gives me an advantage.
Just think, in late June, not many people in Los Angeles had even heard of Andrew Goudelock. Eight months earlier, he talked the talk, and now hes walked the walk so far.
I know I cant let up ever, said the burgeoning fan-favorite. I have to be ready anytime (Brown) calls my name, because theres another guy out there just like me who wants to be where I am.
Listening to him talk, you get the impression that Mini-Mamba isnt about to let that happen.