Every workout’s been great and it's been a blessing just to be invited to them. It’s been a lot of fun — the hard work paying off. Everyone’s been real positive and real open and honest. —Brandon Davies
SALT LAKE CITY — It was like old home day at the Zions Bank Basketball Center Saturday where an assemblage of familiar faces, headed by BYU forward Brandon Davies, worked out for the Utah Jazz.
Davies, who played four years for the Cougars and averaged 12.4 points and 6.2 rebounds in his career, was the most familiar of the dozen players who worked out in two separate sessions. But a bunch of players who competed against BYU in the West Coast Conference, against Utah in the Pac-12, or against both the Cougars and Utes in the Mountain West Conference back in the day, were among the 12 players who worked out for Jazz coaches and scouts.
Besides Davies, other players that have played in the state of Utah several times in recent years included Gonzaga forward Kelly Olynyk, Arizona forward Grant Jerrett, San Diego State guard Jamaal Franklin, Oregon’s Arsalan Kazemi, New Mexico forward Tony Snell and BYU killer Matthew Dellavedova of Saint Mary’s.
Also working out were 6-foot-11 Louisville center Gorgui Dieng, Rudy Gobert, a 7-foot-1 center from France, Kwame Vaughn, a guard from Cal State Fullerton, Isaiah Canaan, a guard from Murray State, and Erick Green, a guard from Virginia Tech.
For Davies, it was his eighth workout for an NBA team — with five more scheduled before the NBA draft on June 27. Davies wasn’t considered a top NBA draft prospect until he opened some eyes in April at the Portsmouth Invitational, where he was named the most valuable player.
“Every workout’s been great and it's been a blessing just to be invited to them,’’ Davies said moments after finishing his workout early Saturday afternoon. “It’s been a lot of fun — the hard work paying off. Everyone’s been real positive and real open and honest.’’
Davies was happy to get a look from his home state team after watching the Jazz while growing up in Provo.
“It’s crazy. My phone’s been blowing up, people telling me not to screw this one up and stuff,’’ he said. “It’s a dream come true just to be here and wear the jersey I watched growing up.’’
One of the players working out with Davies was Dellavedova, the 6-4 Australian who broke Cougar fans’ hearts with his half-court game-winner for Saint Mary’s in February after Tyler Haws had hit the apparent game-winner a couple of seconds earlier.
Davies smiled when asked about Dellavedova and said the two have crossed paths before during the pre-draft workouts, including in Minnesota where they were teammates.
“I don’t want to lose my BYU fans, but he’s a good guy — nothing wrong about him,’’ Davies said.
Dellavedova talked about his various games in Provo and Logan the last couple of years, saying, “We’ve had some good wins at BYU and Utah State in the past, always tough games, but good memories.’’
When asked about his memorable shot against the Cougars, he laughed and said, “I saw on Twitter somebody said they might move to Canada if I came here, but I hope they wouldn’t.’’
As for Davies, Dellavedova said, “I’ve gotten to know him. He’s a good guy and it’s good to get to know him as a person rather than seeing him as the enemy. It’s good to meet all the guys; they’re pretty cool. It was fun to be on the same team with him (in Minnesota).’’4 comments on this story
Both Davies and Dellavedova are not likely to be drafted in the first round and perhaps not even the second round. Jazz vice president of player personnel Walt Perrin said Davies needs to “learn to play away from the basket,’’ but “can play in the league” and called him a likely second-round pick.
A player who might be available for Utah’s first first-round pick at No. 14 is Gonzaga’s 7-foot center Olynyk, who not only played against BYU several times, but played his final college game at EnergySolutions Arena, where the Bulldogs were upset by Wichita State in the NCAA tournament.
“I’m not the most athletic guy in the draft, but skill and versatility is something I’d try to bring to the table every day,’’ Olynyk said. “I definitely think they have some great talent here already, great young guys and they’re going to be great moving forward, so I’d love to be a part of that.’’
SUNDAY SESSION: Sundays pre-draft workout will include ex-Ute guard Will Clyburn (Iowa State), Tennessee State F Robert Covington, VCU G Troy Daniels, Kansas State G Rodney McGruder, Oregon F E.J. Singler and Memphis G/F Adonis Thomas.