Utah State University's Jaycee Carroll has spent the past couple of months in Chicago trying to build point-guard skills so he could market himself for the last couple of weeks at NBA team pre-draft workouts as a combo guard.
"Most teams have been OK with that. They think that I can be that kind of a player, so it's been positive," said Carroll on Saturday after finishing a workout with the Jazz, the ninth of his 11 planned auditions in anticipation of Thursday's NBA Draft. He's off to Toronto and Milwaukee and has already been to Chicago, Detroit, Portland, Sacramento, the Los Angeles Clippers, New Jersey, Charlotte and New Orleans.
But as much as the 6-foot-2 Carroll has tried to broaden his game by working six days a week with his agent's clients and staff in Chicago, as much as he likes to think of himself as more athletic than people give him credit for being, maybe a better defender than people think and someone who can bring the ball upcourt and read what's going on, he's still got that deadeye reputation.
"Most teams have really talked to me as kind of an assassin," said Carroll, the Aggies' career scoring leader with 2,522 points and No. 4 in the NCAA at career 3-point shooting percentage (.465).
"Coming in and spreading the floor and knocking down wide-open 3-point shots, kind of Steve Kerr, I've heard comparisons," he said with reference to the former Chicago Bulls/San Antonio Spurs 6-foot-1 sniper and current Phoenix Suns GM.
"I've had team representatives say that I come to the gym, and I have an ace to play (his shooting), whereas other guys come in with just a jack or a queen to showcase. "
Jazz vice president of player personnel Walt Perrin said Saturday that Carroll's shooting at this point might even be more advanced than that of Kyle Korver at the same point in their careers.
"(Carroll) does more off screens. He can knock down mid-range shots, he can do things going to the basket, he can spot up from the three. If you're looking at the same stage, when Kyle came out vs. now with Jaycee, he might be more of an accomplished shooter."
Asked how good Carroll's shot is, Perrin said, "It's pretty good, it's p-r-e-t-t-y good, it's pretty pure."
Perrin added that Carroll's age (25) doesn't scare the Jazz because he's a second-round prospect rather than a first-rounder, meaning he wouldn't get as long a contract, should he be drafted.
"I think they love it," Carroll said. "I don't know. As far as being a 25-year-old rookie, one team asked me about that, and I just told them I run around and I wear out 19- and 20-year-old rookies."
Jazz coach Jerry Sloan sees a little of himself in Carroll. "He plays to get everything out of himself. He plays at a level up here. He has to in order to be able to compete.
"I don't know about being athletic," Sloan said, "more than just laying his heart out there every time he practices, every time he does something. That's what you like to see in any player.
"I would never challenge any of that because I was a player that was pretty much the same way. I had to play at a high level of energy, otherwise I wasn't good enough, and I think that's what he realizes about himself. If he doesn't play hard, somebody's going to beat him."
Carroll will watch the draft at home with his family in Evanston, Wyo.
SECOND ROUND: Perrin said the Jazz are undecided about their two second-round picks, Nos. 44 and 53. They don't have many roster spots available. He indicated they will think about taking an international player or an American who might play overseas or trading one of the picks.
HALL CALLS MALONE: Former Jazzman Karl Malone was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Saturday night, one of eight in a class that included four-time NFL All-Pro cornerback Aeneas Williams, New York Giants player Leonard Marshall and former major leaguer Darryl Hamilton.
SUMMER FUN: While Deron Williams worked out a bit at the Zions Bank Basketball Center Saturday after the draft prospects, Ronnie Brewer's been playing in a pro-am league organized by Tyronn Lue and others in Kansas City. Brewer scored 18 in the first game Friday.
MR. CURRY: Davidson point guard Jason Richards worked out for the Jazz Saturday. He was the backcourt mate of Stephen Curry, son of former Jazzman Dell Curry. Davidson lost to Kansas by two in the Elite Eight after beating Gonzaga, Georgetown and Wisconsin in the NCAA tournament."It was amazing to play with him," Richards said of the younger Curry. "He has such a bright future at Davidson and in this league. I'm not going to say he's better (than his sharpshooting father) because Mr. Curry will get mad at me, but he's definitely close," said Richards, who played golf with Dell. "He kind of gave me a little heads-up on what NBA workouts are about."
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