Ex-UCLA guard LaVine sets Lakers pre-draft workout record with jump

Zach LaVine averaged 9.4 points per game last season as a freshman at UCLA.

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — It’s no secret Zach LaVine can jump.

The former UCLA guard showed that to the Lakers Wednesday during a pre-draft workout registering 46 inches on his vertical jump — a Lakers pre-draft workout record — nearly five inches better than the 41.5 he jumped at last month’s NBA Pre-Draft Combine in Chicago, which was the third-best among participants.

It’s no secret. He can jump.

"This is one of the higher ones," LaVine admitted. "I think I was pumped a little bit, you know, (it’s) the Lakers."

However, what he wants to show NBA teams is he’s more than just a high flyer. LaVine’s main objectives are showing he can shoot, he can defend, and he can run a team.

"I’ve played (point guard) my whole life," LaVine said following his workout with the Lakers on Wednesday. "A lot of people (haven’t) seen me play (point guard) because they only seen me in college but it helped me show that I could score the ball as well."

Also in the workout with LaVine was Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart, Michigan State guard Gary Harris, Syracuse guard Tyler Ennis, Indiana Forward Noah Vonleh, and Pepperdine big man Brendan Lane.

LaVine’s objectives, or at least some of them, were received by his fellow workout participants.

"We all knew he could jump," Smart said of LaVine, "but he can do a lot of things, too. He’s long. He can affect you on the defensive end also."  

After just one year at UCLA and amid much scrutiny LaVine decided to forego his final three years of eligibility and enter the NBA Draft.

A lot of the questions came after his ho-hum end to the 2013-14 season. After starting the season on fire and being mentioned as a potential lottery pick in the 2014 draft, a rough patch described LaVine’s end to his freshman campaign.

He averaged just 3.6 points over the final seven games of his collegiate career. A stark contrast from the way he began his career, reaching double figures in nine of his first 10 collegiate games. He reached double figures just eight times over the last 27 games of his career. LaVine shot 46.5 percent from three point range in those first 10 games, compared to a modest 32.9 percent the rest of the way.  

While many looked at that unceremonious ending to LaVine needing to return to Westwood for more seasoning, he remained undeterred.

"I’m 19-years-old," LaVine said. "You go through up and down seasons. At the NBA level I’m going to go through up and down parts of the season as well but as a basketball player you got to deal with that. I feel toward the end of the Sweet 16 my jumper and my playing started coming back.  

"I started off the season really hot …and that’s not going to happen as a regular basketball player for your whole season and you know that. It’s like a baseball player hitting .700, you’re going to come down to the earth eventually."

If he’s able to experience the highs and lows of an NBA ballplayer in a Lakers uniform, LaVine would be thrilled. The Washington native says the workout gear he received from the Lakers for Wednesday’s workout will be a keepsake because he and his family are longtime Lakers fans.

"I’ve always been a Laker fan growing up ever since I was younger," LaVine said. "I’ve lived and died with them. It’s from Nick Van Exel and Eddie Jones to when Kobe came in to where Kobe and them had their losing streak and didn’t make the playoffs to where they’re at now. I know everything about the Lakers."

Like how on a Wednesday in June he jumped higher than any other player to ever come in for a pre-draft workout with the Lakers.