Utah Jazz look at Butler's Shelvin Mack, others in workout
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Gordon Hayward had a little bit of advice for his Butler buddy, Shelvin Mack, in regards to the NBA hopeful's pre-draft workout with the Utah Jazz.
Mack said Hayward told him, "Come in and compete."
One only needed to glance at the 21-year-old guard's sweat-drenched shirt to see that happened during Sunday's session.
And Tyrone Corbin confirmed that the guard, who is leaving the Bulldogs after his junior season, heeded Hayward's suggestion during the first of multiple workouts hosted by the Jazz for draft prospects.
The Jazz coach credited Mack for being in "tremendous shape" — something Mack prides himself in and the first thing Corbin looks for in potential players.
Corbin also admitted to being impressed by the 6-foot-3, 215-pounder.
"He can really shoot the ball," Corbin said. "I didn't see him at Butler handling the ball as much. (But) I think he's a pretty good ballhandler. I think he can make some passes off the dribble."
It's highly unlikely the Jazz would use either their third or 12th picks on Mack. He's generally considered a late first-rounder or second-round prospect (and, keep in mind, Utah traded its second-round selection to Chicago last year).
Even so, general manager Kevin O'Connor likes what Mack has to offer — especially being a winner.
Asked what skills he likes of Mack's, O'Connor said: "His competitiveness and the fact that he's been in a lot of big games and made a lot of big shots and the fact that he helps his team win. Butler's been to the (NCAA) finals twice, the last two years, and that speaks volumes for who he is. One of the (constants) has been the head coach (Brad Stevens) and one of the other (constants) has been him."
Mack's relationship with Hayward was a hot topic at Sunday's workout, which also included possible lottery pick Markieff Morris, a power forward from Kansas; Cleveland State guard Norris Cole; Purdue forward JaJuan Johnson; Ohio State forward Dallas Lauderdale; and overseas pro Jeremy Tyler of San Diego, Calif.
Mack said he would love to be reunited in Utah with his Butler pal.
"He's like a brother to me. I talk to him regularly," Mack said. "It would just be another great opportunity for me."
So did the Jazz pick Hayward's brain about Mack?
"No," O'Connor said. "I asked Mack about how to play Gordon."
O'Connor then added, jokingly, "Gordon's not smart enough to give a scouting report."
Hayward has dispensed some of his professional knowledge to Mack, though. The Jazz guard told his old teammate that he needs to prepare himself for the ups and downs of the NBA life — starting one night and not playing much the next or being in four different cities in four different nights.
"He just told me to be prepared for it mentally," Mack said.
Mack believes his career at Butler and time spent with Hayward playing against top-notch NBA talent — the likes of Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo — last summer with USA Basketball have helped prepare him to step up to the next level.
That's why the All-Horizon League second-teamer decided to follow in Hayward's footsteps and leave college early after averaging 16.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists for Butler last season.
"You've been there, done that," Mack said he told himself in making his decision. "You've played in the biggest games you can play at the level before the NBA. Also playing with USA Basketball, me and Gordon, we won a gold medal, so we know what it takes to win."
Mack sees similarities between his college and the Jazz.
"It's a high quality organization," he said. "Everyone has high character. It's a team-first atmosphere. It's sort of like Butler."
Now he only hopes his NBA career begins sort of like his Butler buddy's.
Mack, who has tried out for two teams and will visit three more this week, also hopes to hook up with Hayward in the near future.
"After this," he said, "I'll get back and hang out with him and play some video games."
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