SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Utah Jazz selected Virginia Commonwealth guard Eric Maynor in the first round of the NBA draft, getting a backup to starter Deron Williams with the 20th overall pick.
Maynor played all four years of college and averaged 22.4 points and 6.2 assists as a senior, when he led the Colonial Athletic Association in scoring and assists and was the league's player of the year.
"If you look at the success that Eric has had in his college career, you'll understand why we're happy to have him," general manager Kevin O'Connor said after making the pick Thursday night. "He's thin, but he's got good size. He sees the floor well and each year he got better."
Maynor led the CAA in assists his last three years at VCU and was an AP honorable mention All-American as a senior.
At 6-foot-3, he's as tall as Williams but is much lighter — weighing in at just 164 pounds at the pre-draft camp in Chicago. O'Connor said the Jazz will want to see Maynor bulk up a little this summer and gain some strength before his rookie season.
Williams and Maynor give the Jazz two of the three point guards they plan to have on the roster, with free agent Ronnie Price still available to re-sign with Utah.
"We've always liked point guards and we've always carried three," coach Jerry Sloan said. "He gives us the ability to have a young player that maybe can come in and play behind Deron Williams and Ronnie Price and hopefully make himself a better player."
Maynor interviewed with the Jazz on Wednesday, and both O'Connor and Sloan said they were impressed with the 22-year-old, whose college resume included a buzzer-beater in an upset over Duke in the first round of the 2007 NCAA tournament and a 1-point loss against UCLA this year in the first round.
Maynor started his last 72 games at VCU and shot 46 percent from the field as a senior.
"He can shoot, and that's always a plus for a point guard," Sloan said.20 comments on this story
O'Connor was greeted with a mix of cheers and a few boos when he announced the pick at EnergySolutions Arena. He said it wasn't surprising because fans who follow the draft have their own lists of players they'd like to see playing for the Jazz, but 19 teams picked ahead of Utah in the opening round.
"It's tough to target anybody when you're 20," O'Connor said. "And I'm not complaining about drafting low in the draft because that means we had a successful season.
The Jazz are still waiting to hear from forwards Carlos Boozer and Kyle Korver and center Mehmet Okur, who can all opt out of the final year of their contract before Tuesday's deadline. O'Connor said he didn't expect a decision from any of the three before the deadline.