Jake LaRavia has been one of the top rising prospects in this year’s draft and is currently ranked No. 27 overall in our HoopsHype LIVE aggregate mock draft.
After playing two seasons at Indiana State, LaRavia transferred to Wake Forest and had an efficient all-around season leading to an All-ACC Second Team selection. LaRavia’s versatility as a shooter (56 percent from the field and 38.4 percent from three-point range), rebounding (6.6 boards per game), passing (3.7 assists per game), and defense (1.7 steals and 1.0 blocks per game) have intrigued NBA talent evaluators.
“LaRavia knows how to play and can make plays for himself or teammates,” an NBA executive told HoopsHype. “He’s a good athlete that is a hybrid forward and eventually can be a stretch forward.”
“LaRavia is well rounded, is a high IQ player, and is a better athlete than you’d think,” an NBA scout told HoopsHype. “He’s fundamentally sound.”
With the draft one week away, LaRavia has a few more workouts with teams in the 20s range. Following his most recent workout, LaRavia explained to HoopsHype how he decided to stay in the draft after initially believing he’d only test the waters, how he will contribute to an NBA team next season, and much more in a phone interview.
What are some things about you off the court that people wouldn’t know?
Jake LaRavia: I like being outside in nature and hiking. Other than that and video games, I don’t do much other than basketball. I’ve got a pretty simple life.
What changed for you on and off the court at Wake Forest that led you to this position now?
JL: Honestly, I just continued to get better. My game has continued to improve in all aspects. I played with a really good team this year, so I was able to showcase a lot of playmaking with a really good group of guys. We were all able to play off each other. I shot the ball more.
What factored into your decision to go pro and remain in the draft?
JL: I knew I was going to enter the draft after the season was over because I talked with the coaches. At first, I was just going to test the waters, but I started getting good feedback, and I was confident in myself to go to all these workouts and do very well.
Through the draft process, you’ve risen up boards to the late first round. From where your name was at the start of the process (mid to late second round), how's it felt to see your stock rise this much?
JL: I think it’s the fact that people are finding out about me, and people are actually starting to watch the film and see what I’m capable of. They see there’s still room for improvement in some areas. I think people are finally starting to take notice.
When was the moment you realized you could be an NBA player?
JL: Realistically, it was probably when I got to Wake Forest, and that summer I took a leap in my game. Throughout the year, certain games gave me more confidence. The UNC game (31 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, three steals, and one block). The Duke game (19 points and 10 rebounds). In those games, I played really well against the guys that are actually about to be in the NBA. It was a confidence booster for sure.
How do you see yourself contributing to an NBA team next season?
JL: I think I’m the perfect role player in the NBA on any team at any position. I do whatever the coach tells me. I think I’m versatile enough on offense and defense to be put anywhere on the floor and be able to make any adjustments as far as translating from college to the NBA level.
It depends on what kind of team I’m on, but if I’m on a team with some superstars, then my role would be to help them on the defensive side of things because they’re taking a heavy load on offense. Then, on offense, just being able to make those open shots when the defense collapses on them.
If it’s a team that doesn’t have superstars but is a good overall team, I can see myself in more of a playmaker role and still hit the open catch-and-shoot shot and be versatile defensively.
What’s the biggest misconception or criticism about your game that isn’t true?
JL: I feel like a lot of people think I’m slow defensively, and I don’t think that’s true.
Are there players in the league now or retired that you’d compare yourself to?
JL: Gordon Hayward.
Which NBA teams will you be working out for coming up?
JL: As of now, I have to do Minnesota. I’ve got Golden State, Indiana, and maybe one other team.
What do you want to accomplish before retiring down the line?
JL: I want to get some rings. I’m not very focused on statistics. I want to win games and championships.
Is there anything you’d tell people who haven’t heard of you yet?
JL: I’m trying to put people on notice. They’ll find out soon enough.
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