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When Draymond recognized Macklin Celebrini's star NHL potential

When Draymond recognized Macklin Celebrini's star NHL potential originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

With the 2024 NHL Draft looming, consensus No.1 overall pick Macklin Celebrini already is turning heads with his exceptional play, impressing Draymond Green, Steve Kerr and the rest of the Warriors organization.

Celebrini, the son of Warriors vice president of player health and performance Rick Celebrini, has been drawing crowds for quite some time, with a recent ESPN article detailing a Warriors trip to see the youngster play in Jan. 2023 during a day off in Chicago.

Green, in particular, was impressed with the 17-year-old’s playing style and poise under pressure.

"One guy comes out of nowhere and just chucks him and Mack stumbles over and he comes right back -- chucks the guy, doesn't fall," Green said (h/t Emily Kaplan). "Mack hits him again to make sure the guy falls. [Macklin] just takes off to the penalty box. That's going to suit him going forward. There's always going to be a target on your back. You're the projected No. 1 pick and I'm not waiting on my bruiser to come lay you out. I'm going to lay you out myself. That said everything I needed to know."

Green went on to explain that the young Celebrini has quiet confidence about himself and a pure love of hockey.

"He's quiet but super confident, and is not afraid to share that confidence with you," Green explained. "We don't get the opportunity to see him often, but every chance, he has a smile on his face. He walks in the room like he belongs in the room. Like he's supposed to be there.

"It's not something over the top where it's like, 'Hey, I need you to realize that I'm here.' You feel the seriousness when you talk to him. Like, he wants to work, he wants to be great. I have no doubt in my mind that he will be."

Golden State coach Steve Kerr had a more humorous description of the trip, explaining that they learned Celebrini’s nickname at the game.

"We found out a lot of stuff that night," Kerr said. "Like Macklin's nickname was The Cheetah. We didn't know that until the announcer said something."

Celebrini excelled for Boston University in his freshman season, leading the Terriers to the 2024 NCAA Frozen Four and winning the Hobey Baker Award, given to the best collegiate hockey player in the country.

Given the high likelihood that the Sharks will be awarded the No. 1 overall draft pick, Celebrini could be headed to the Bay Area. Drafting the young forward would give San Jose another impressive young player as they look to continue their rebuild following coach David Quinn’s firing after multiple seasons finishing at the bottom of the NHL standings.