Utah Jazz: Workout attendees well aware of team's point guard situation
Jody Genessy, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — With zero point guards under contract for the 2013-14 season and beyond, it's no wonder the Utah Jazz's first pre-draft workout included several intriguing playmaker possibilities.
Not surprisingly, the guys brought in for this spring's first tryout session knew a few things about the Jazz: 1) Utah has a "Help Wanted" sign up for its guard positions; and 2) this organization has a rich point guard history.
"Utah does need a point guard. Everyone's aware of that," Texas guard Myck Kabongo said. "I'm just privileged to be here. I was excited to come out here to Utah."
Kabongo, whose first name is pronounced "Mike," was joined at Saturday's workout at the Jazz's practice facility with two other guards — South Dakota State's Nate Wolters and Florida State's Mike Snaer.
"I know John Stockton played here," Snaer said. "I know it's a great place to play. I would love to come here."
"I remember my dad was a huge Jazz fan going against the Bulls in the finals the last couple of years," Wolters added. "They were fun teams to watch."
The Jazz, who have two first-round picks and a second-round selection in the June 27 draft, also brought in Long Beach State swingman James Ennis, Delaware power forward Jamelle Hagins and Colorado State center Colton Iverson.
The players went through a private workout with Jazz brass, playing scrimmages and doing shooting drills.
"It was great. It was competitive," Kabongo said. "Everyone went hard every drill. Everyone was coachable. It was a fun group of guys to be around."
How did management think they fared?
Only they know.
Breaking a long-standing tradition of media availability, the Jazz decided to not conduct interviews with the press after the workout.
Kevin O'Connor, the Jazz's executive vice president of basketball operations, did walk over to Hagins and told the 6-foot-9 athlete within earshot of media, "It's a tough workout. You did a great job."
That was an appreciated compliment for Hagins, who admitted he was nervous and felt the higher altitude in his lungs.
"I know who he is. It's a good feeling. I'm just here trying to work hard and just trying to get that kind of reaction out of guys, trying to show them what I can do," Hagins said. "I can push through the workout. I was kind of tired at the beginning of the workout, but I pushed through it."
None of the six players, mostly second-round mock picks, are household basketball names, although Kabongo was considered a potential lottery prospect when going to Texas out of Toronto. The 6-1 guard is hoping to join Serge Ibaka in making the NBA out of Congo, where he lived before relocating to Toronto with his family when he was 6 years old.
Asked about his NBA skills, Kabongo responded, "I love playing defense. Obviously, leadership. I feel like I'm a leader and just a guy who's going to bring it day in, day out."
Stockton isn't the only Jazz player he's aware of, either.
"They have great young players. Alec Burks is great, and Hayward," the 21-year-old said. "They have a good cornerstone and two bigs — Enes Kanter. They have a great core. I'm very aware of what the team has. I'm pretty young myself. I think I'd fit right in with them."
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