Kapono Talks!

June 23, 2000

On when he made the decision to return to UCLA:
"Last week I sat down and put together all the facts that I had gathered throughout the process in meetings with the G.M.s and the head coaches. They told me that I would be a first-round selection, but I still wanted to come back to college. There was still a part of me that wanted to come back and play for coach Lavin and a part of me that still wanted to be a college kid and be on campus everyday and still be part of college basketball. So it pretty much became clear to me late last weekend. That's when I called our sports information department and we made it public on Friday."

On where he thought he would be drafted:
" First of all, I was only going to put my name if I had the confidence of knowing that I was going to be a first-round selection. So going in, I knew that you can so-called make or break yourself during these workouts, which I trained hard for. I was feeling very confident and sure of myself going into these workouts. Being a player, when you leave college you always want to leave knowing that you'll be a first rounder because you can get a contract for three years and guaranteed money. It's almost a waste to leave college early to be a second-round pick because you don't get a contract."

On the response from teammates and students that he was staying:
"Well school's over now so I really haven't had a chance to speak with all my friends and teammates. But hopefully everyone is glad that I'm coming back. I think it's good that I'm coming back because, with the losses of Jerome (Moiso) and JaRon (Rush), we lost a lot of talent in terms of depth. Now with me coming back, we have three returning starters and that helps. Plus the fact that I've been through the tournament. I've been through the Pac-10 already. We're all jazzed up and we're ready to win some championships next season."

On the pre-draft experience:
"I see it as a positive experience. The next time, if I do decide to leave school again and I'm 100% sure about it, I'll know how the process works and what G.M.s want and what head coaches are looking for. Also, how the workouts are conducted and what's expected of you during those workouts. Although it was a rather stressful experience, with me going back-and-forth and weighing the pros and cons, it was positive because I learned so much.

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