Los Angeles Lakers take Flint's Kyle Kuzma in NBA Draft at No. 27

Jun 22, 2017 | by Eric Woodyard, mlive.com

BURTON, MI - Kyle Kuzma is living a dream come true.

During Thursday's NBA Draft, the Flint native was selected by the Brooklyn Nets with the No. 27 overall pick, but immediately had his rights traded to the Los Angeles Lakers.

"I wanted to be a Laker," Kuzma said. "We told them and it happened."

Kuzma, 21, declared for the draft after a strong junior campaign at the University of Utah.

The 6-foot-9, 225-pound forward earned first-team All-Pac 12 honors after averaging a team-high 16.4 points and 9.3 boards per game for the Utes.

Kuzma celebrated the draft day moment with at least 60 supporters at a family friend's home in Burton.

He witnessed his stock spike dramatically after making a strong impression at the NBA Combine in May.

"The combine really helped me," Kuzma said. "I feel like a lot of teams didn't see me play in Utah and had a misconception.

"Being out on the West Coast, we're not really on ESPN and we don't really headline a lot of TV shows so the country really saw me first at the combine but I've been doing that all year."

Kuzma began his prep career at Class C Burton Bentley High School but left after his junior season to enroll at Philadelphia's Rise Academy.

Against national competition, the forward emerged as a ESPN four-star recruit then committed to Utah.

"I'm really happy," said Kuzma's mom, Karri. "That's where he wanted to go. I just think it's pretty amazing that he went first-round."