Utah Jazz work out 3 point guards, 3 forwards in preparation for draft
Laura Seitz, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Two point guards with distinctly different memories of the BYU basketball team worked out for the Utah Jazz Friday morning at the Zions Bank Basketball Center.
For Iona's Scott Machado, it was like reliving a nightmare as he talked about his team blowing a 25-point lead and losing to the Cougars in the first round of the NCAA tournament in March.
For Marquette's Darius Johnson-Odom, the memories are sweeter because his team cruised to a 20-point victory over BYU in the second round of the NCAAs.
Machado and Johnson-Odom were among six players who showed up to try to impress Jazz coaches and officials, who put them through a vigorous workout behind closed doors.
The Jazz have the 47th overall pick in next week's NBA draft, their only draft choice in the two-round draft.
Also on hand were Mississippi State point guard Dee Bost, Northwestern forward John Shurna, Alabama forward JaMychal Green and Syracuse guard Scoop Jardine. However, Jardine suffered a minor injury early in the workout and was advised by Jazz trainers to sit out.
The fact that four of the potential draftees on hand Friday were point guards shows the Jazz might be focusing on that position in the draft as they look to bolster their backcourt.
The 6-foot-1 Machado is a pass-first guard who led the nation in assists at 9.9 per game, while scoring 13.6 points per game. He also ranked fourth in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio.
When asked if he still had bad feelings from the BYU loss, he had a wry smile as he replied, "Yes … yes sir."
So what happened in that game?
"Everything in the first half was rolling, but nothing in the second half was rolling," he said. "We're a pressing team and we couldn't do what we normally do in the second half."
Johnson-Odom, who was a first-team all-Big East selection after averaging 18.3 ppg, said he thought his team was going to be playing Iona.
"We turned off the (BYU-Iona) game and everything," he said. But he praised the BYU team, adding, "BYU's a good team — they just got a little tired after fighting back against Iona."
Both Machado and Johnson-Odom hope to get drafted earlier than the Jazz's 47th pick, but both feel they would fit in with the Jazz.
"It's a good spot and I feel comfortable here," said Machado, who has now worked out for 16 teams. "Devin Harris does a great job here and they can use someone who knows how to distribute the ball and get everybody involved."
Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said his team will draft for the best available player and he's looking for a player with "athleticism, knowledge of the game, who fits in with the group of guys we have."
Corbin didn't want to single out any players, while Jazz Vice President of Player Personnel Walt Perrin offered that Green and Shurna were better shooters than expected and that it was difficult to judge the point guards without a 5-on-5 workout.
"It was a good workout, all the guys played hard," Perrin said "We had a chance to see some guys we're interested in and we learned some things."
JAZZ NOTES: Shurna, who started all 130 games during his four-year career at Northwestern, was a roommate of Utah's Gordon Hayward three years ago for the Under-19 USA basketball team. … Bost broke the Mississippi State all-time assists record during a win over Utah State last year. … The Jazz will welcome 12 more players in two groups today for workouts. Two are foreign players, Paul Lacombe, a 6-5 guard from France and Negueba Samake, a 6-11 center from the Republic of Mali. … Barring a trade, the Jazz won't have a first-round draft pick for the first time since 1994. … The Jazz will hold their annual draft "party" on Thursday with the doors to EnergySolutions Arena opening at 5 p.m.
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