Growing up in Southern California, Jordan Schakel was like pretty much every other kid who dribbled a basketball. He idolized Kobe Bryant.
“But there came a time when I realized I couldn’t do what Kobe did,” Schakel said. “More realistically, I started looking at Klay.”
It’s Klay Thompson, a five-time NBA All-Star and three-time NBA champion with the Golden State Warriors, who is also 6ft 6in tall and also has an affinity for shooting the ball. Schakel modeled his shot on him, wide base, high movement, quick release, exaggerated following.
So you can imagine what it was like Thursday for the former SDSU to participate in his first post-graduation NBA practice… wearing the Warriors gear… in front of the Warriors coaches… at the Warriors training center.
“Unbelievable,” Schakel said during a Zoom session with the media, wearing a gray Warriors t-shirt. “A dream come true.”
It was the start of what Schakel hopes will be a long and productive pre-draft process. He said he has a few more team training sessions planned over the next few weeks, but has yet to hear from either of the Chicago drafts later this month. here, one led by the G League and the other by the NBA. The best players in the first can win places in the second.
Schakel doesn’t currently appear in most mock drafts, but neither does Boise State winger Justinian Jessop, the career 3-point Mountain West leader. Jessop was a surprise second-round pick, 51st overall, last year… by the Warriors. (With the G League down to one month, Jessop plays for the Illawarra Hawks in Australia’s National Basketball League.)
Schakel has signed a contract with the Octagon agency, which represents Steph Curry and dozens of other NBA players, but also has close ties to placing clients in Europe and other overseas leagues.
“I expect to get the most out of this process, to play the best I can, and then I’ll end up where I’m supposed to be,” Schakel said. “But right now I’m doing NBA practice, and that’s where I focus.”
Details of the workouts are not shared, but the guy who went 96-31 in four years at SDSU seemed happy with how things turned out.
“I hope I showed them, obviously, that I can shoot the ball,” said Schakel, who averaged 14.4 points last season while shooting 46.1 percent from behind the arc. “But I love competition, I love to play basketball, I find joy in playing this game. Everywhere I have been, my team has won. I take great pride in being a winning basketball player and doing the little things, whatever it takes, whether it’s shots, box-outs, rebounds, taking a teammate. Hope I showed them this today.
When a Bay Area reporter asked him if he considered himself a gym rat, Schakel didn’t hesitate: “Yes, I would.”
Which is somewhat surprising that he spent three weeks away from the game following the season-ending loss to Syracuse in the NCAA tournament before moving to Phoenix to train for the past two months.
“I think it was the first time in my life that it wasn’t that difficult (to be away from the game),” Schakel said. “I kind of knew I needed a break. … I took a lot of free time, just because of the nature of last season which was quite hectic and crazy. It was really fun to get back to it and start playing basketball again.
The six-man training Thursday had a Mountain West flavor, with Boise State’s Derrick Alston Jr. and Fresno State’s Orlando Robinson. Also participating were JaQuori McLaughlin (UC Santa Barbara), McKinley Wright IV (Colorado) and Jericho Sims (Texas).
“It was great to see another guy from Mountain West,” said Alston. “At Boise State, we had our battles for sure. It was great to see a familiar face working hard. He also had a good training. “