SALT LAKE CITY — Justin Bibbins was chilling in the Los Angeles area around 1 p.m. Saturday when he received an unexpected call from his agent.
The Utah Jazz were extending an invite for the former University of Utah floor general to come in for a pre-draft workout with five others on Sunday morning.
“I just hopped on a plane and came right out here,” Bibbins recalled. “You can’t miss an opportunity like that if they call. I’m happy to be in Utah again.”
Bibbins worked out at the Jazz practice facility alongside Purdue’s Vince Edwards, Australian guard William McDowell-White, French wing Amine Noua, Marshall big Ajdin Penava and Lincoln Memorial’s Emanuel Terry.
The Carson, California, native also participated in a pre-draft workout with the Los Angeles Lakers on June 1 but doesn’t have any others planned as of yet.
“I don’t know where I’m going next, just ready for the call whenever it comes,” Bibbins said.
Bibbins was named to the 2018 All-Pac 12 First Team this past season after averaging 14.8 points, 4.7 assists and 3.0 rebounds. He transferred to Utah after playing his first three seasons at Long Beach State. The Utes didn’t make the NCAA Tournament but did reach the NIT championship, where they fell to Penn State, 82-66.
As solid as he is, Bibbins’ main knock is still his size. He stands just 5-foot-8 and weighs 150 pounds, which makes it hard to defend in the league, but he could be an option as a late draftee, undrafted free agent or even the summer league roster.
“He played pretty well, shot it OK,” Utah Jazz vice president of player personnel Walt Perrin said. “His size is going to be something that’s against him. He’s strong for as small as he is, though.”
Although his Salt Lake City stint was brief, Bibbins really bought into the Utes program this past season. He developed close ties with former standouts while watching the rise of Lakers rookie Kyle Kuzma.
“It’s real cool. I’m real proud of Kyle and he’s killing it,” Bibbins said. “I wanted him back another year to play with him, but I’m so proud of what he’s doing, and he’s going to be an All-Star.”4 comments on this story
Seeing Kuzma and other guys like Toronto’s Jakob Poeltl and Delon Wright gives him motivation to play at the next level. Utah is the lone Pac-12 team to produce a first round pick in each of the last three seasons. The Jazz hold the No. 21 and No. 52 picks in the upcoming draft on June 21, and Bibbins is confident he can play on the top stage, especially with his Utah experience under his belt.
“A lot of guys came from the Utah program that’s done really well,” Bibbins said. “They’re doing a great job with the players at Utah. They groom us, they teach us how to play at the next level, and it’s no surprise that (Kyle Kuzma’s) doing well.”