SALT LAKE CITY — The latest NBA Draft winds may be blowing University of North Carolina power forward Ed Davis toward Utah — especially if much-liked Georgetown big man Greg Monroe is gone before the Jazz pick Thursday at No. 9 overall.
That's the suggestion from ESPN.com draft analyst Chad Ford, who reported Friday that Utah, Detroit, Golden State, Indiana and the Los Angeles Clippers "all trying to get a feel for who they'd prefer" between Davis and Baylor big man Ekpe Udoh "if both were on the board."
According to Ford, "right now, Udoh seems to have the buzz," but "I don't think Davis will slip past the Jazz at No. 9."
Detroit, Golden State and the Clippers all pick before Utah.
Ford also reported that from among a group of four perimeter players who could go starting at No. 8 to the Clippers — Nevada's Luke Babbitt, Butler's Gordon Hayward, Kansas' Xavier Henry and Fresno State's Paul George — "the Jazz prefer Babbitt."
The Jazz worked out 31 players over six days in advance of Thursday's draft, with Monroe, Davis, Udoh, Babbitt, Hayward, Henry and George among them.
It was an effort Walt Perrin, player personnel vice president, has deemed "very productive."
"Because I think we got everybody in that we were looking at at the ninth spot," Perrin said.
Nine may be too high for George in the estimation of the Jazz, who — in addition to Monroe, Davis, Babbitt, Udoh, Henry and Hayward — are known to be considering Wake Forest small forward Al-Farouq Aminu, Kansas center Cole Aldrich and Kentucky power forward Patrick Patterson.
Marshall center Hassan Whiteside also worked out in Utah, but — like George — the Jazz perhaps consider nine too early for him.
Perrin's only regret, he said, is perhaps not "getting some key players in ... in case they slide."
"But the agents were doing a good job of protecting their players," the longtime Jazz scout said.
One such prospect is DeMarcus Cousins, the University of Kentucky big man expected to be taken before nine.
Perrin told KSL-TV on Sunday night that the Jazz wanted to bring Cousins to Utah for a personal interview but his agent wouldn't approve the visit.
MONROE WATCH: After paying a second visit to Sacramento on Saturday, Monroe worked out Sunday for Golden State.
The Warriors pick sixth and could take Cousins, especially if Monroe goes at No. 5 to Sacramento.
MILLSAP UPDATE: Alabama-Birmingham shooting guard Elijah Millsap, the younger brother of Jazz power forward Paul Millsap who worked out Saturday in Utah, auditioned Monday in Indiana.
He's visited at least nine teams.
DRAFT PARTY: The Jazz will host a free, open-to-the-public draft party Thursday at EnergySolutions Arena.
Doors open at 4:30 p.m.; TV coverage begins at 5 p.m.
The first 3,500 fans in attendance will receive a coupon for a free hot dog, soft drink, Salt Lake Bees ticket voucher and game card.
Jazz broadcaster Craig Bolerjack will emcee.
MERCHANDISE SALE: Fanzz, the Jazz's team store, will hold its annual warehouse sale from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday on EnergySolutions Arena's northeast plaza.
The sale features jerseys and other clearance merchandise discounted up to 90 percent. VIP cards, available at Fanzz retail stores, will allow shopping access from 9 to 10 a.m. Thursday.
BOL AND EATON: Remembering Manute Bol, the former NBA center from Sudan who died Saturday from kidney complications and a rare skin disease, longtime NBA writer Phil Jasner wrote this in Monday's Philadelphia Daily News:
"Some people said Manute Bol was 7-6. Most said he was 7-7. All I know is that he was and always will be bigger than life. ....
"I was in the old Salt Palace in Salt Lake City when Bol, then a (Philadelphia 76er), stepped in to jump center against Mark Eaton, the Utah Jazz' massive 7-4 center.
" 'Man, you are big,' Eaton said.
" 'No mon,' Bol said in that hard-to-describe twang of his. 'You are big. I am just tall.' "
Thursday, 5 p.m.
Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company