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Utah Jazz Draft Workout: Askia Booker, R.J. Hunter, T.J. McConnell and Nick Paulos

June 4, 2015

Also working out, but with no interviews posted: Gary Bell Jr. (Gonzaga) and Shaquielle McKissic (Arizona State)


** Colorado – G – 6’2 – 175
** First workout
** Comment on the altitude
It affected me just a little bit. I’ve been in L.A. for the most part, so coming back was a little adjustment, but it didn’t take over me. You know, I was just fine.
** What do you bring?
Energy, speed, my athleticism. Disrupting plays, man. I can guard the ball. I can talk on defense. I can knock down the open three. You know, utility guys as of right now. You know, I’m not gonna be asked to be a star player right away. But I’m gonna asked be to, you know, make shots and disrupt plays on defense.
** Talk about chasing your dream.
It’s beyond fun. You know, working out every day; trying to get better at my craft. It’s something you have to cherish, man. Every day’s a blessing, so I try to work out as hard as I can, and get as much rest as I can, and you know, be prepared for these workouts.
** Do you know Alec Burks?
Yeah, I’ve talked to Alec. Actually, he usually comes back to school every now and then and I usually hang out with him when he comes back, so we’re pretty familiar with each other.
Did he have any advice for you?
Stay in shape. That’s his big thing, man. You know, they wanna see somebody that’s conditioned and can, you know, fight through the workout and seem like they don’t have any problem through it. So, stay in shape was the biggest piece of advice.

** Georgia State – G/F – 6’6 – 185
** Second workout; has seven more in four days. Phoenix got next.
** Comment on the altitude
I felt like I jumped out of a airplane the first five minutes. I didn’t know what was going on. I couldn’t breathe, couldn’t see. I was like, what is this? But you know, it only takes, like, 10 minutes, you know what I mean? It just hits you so fast.
** Do you see yourself as a role player or an All-Star in the NBA?
Absolutely be an All-Star, but I think earlier, of course, rookies don’t get a lot of love. So I gotta come in and do my job, which is make shots. And I think that’s second nature to me, so when I am run off the line, and then when I am, and that’s taken away, I can show my skill set. I think that’s when it’ll open up for me.
** Your release is reminiscent of Ian Clark’s,* which is a scary comp for Jazz fans, and Ian has never found a way to get it off. So are you worried about where your release point is?
* Hunter: Oh, man.
I don’t think so. I’ve got my sh–my three blocked at least four times in my life, you know what I mean, and there’s some–I just have a feel to when I can get it off, you know what I mean…It’s just about how quick you can get it off and have a good shot, you know what I mean, so I don’t think that’ll be a problem. But, I am open if a coach wants me to fix it and he thinks it’ll be better for me, I’m all for that.
** What is the best part of your game that you didn’t get to show today?
Passing. I’m a great passer, and I didn’t get to do that a lot ’cause I was playing on the wing. And I think that’s a underrated — I haven’t heard a lot about that during this whole process, and I think I’m a unbelievable passer.
** Is there an NBA player you compare yourself to?
Comparable, no. I think I have a super unique game. I pattern my game a lot after Steph Curry. I’ve been watching him since I was, you know, 14 years old. There’s something about his game that was super appealing to me. I don’t know if it was the short little release like I have, or just his demeanor on the court. So I watch a lot of tape on him…So I would say I watch, mostly I’m like guys like Steph Curry and Reggie Miller.
** What’s your biggest concern about the NBA?
Just the lifestyle, you know what I mean? You have so much time on your hands…It’s practice, work out, work on your game. You got 3 o’clock to midnight, what do you do, you know what I’m saying? Just trying to find ways, you know, just to stay out of trouble and just keep my mind focused on everything.
** On his dad’s torn Achilles
He’s got, like, a colorful boot and a cane, so he’s like Pimp Ron right now…He’s old too, so the Achilles will take a little longer than it would for a young guy, but he’s loving it.

** Arizona – G – 6’2 – 188
** Sixth workout
** Comment on the altitude
You know, it hits you for, like, the first 10 minutes, and then you’re used to it. But it’s tough. I’ve been playing here for a couple years. I’m pretty used to it, so just gotta be in good shape or if not, it’s gonna catch you out here.
** What are you trying to show teams?
I’m just trying to be a knockdown shooter. I know people are gonna go under and, with me open, and I gotta keep defense honest and you know, make open shots.
** Do you think your defense and tenacity will carry over into the NBA?
Yeah, it has to. I think that’s part of the reason I’m here. You know, if I lose that, I don’t think I would have a chance. So, it’s, I’ve gotta keep that for as long as I play.

** UNC Greensboro – F – 6’7 – 185
** First workout
** Comment on the altitude
You know, I grew up here, so I’m accustomed to it a little bit. But I flew back from Greensboro just, earlier this weekend, so I’m still getting a, you know, a little readjusted to it.
** What do you bring?
I’m someone who is gonna come out, and I’m gonna be the ideal teammate and the consummate professional, someone who’s gonna come to work every day ready to get better, and help the team improve. And you know, I think I can positively affe–impact any team with my ability to defend and rebound, and then also space the floor and knock down shots.
** On working out for the Jazz
It’s pretty, it was pretty crazy. You know, growing up in Salt Lake City, I was a huge Jazz fan as a kid, and you know, my family and I were fortunate enough to get to go to some of the games growing up, and you know, it’s kind of a surreal moment to see, you know, “Utah Jazz” across my chest. And to come here and work out is a pretty great experience, and I’m just, you know, really thankful for the Jazz for giving me this opportunity to help a, help me pursue my dream and play the next level, so.
** On meeting Jerry Sloan
I did meet Jerry Sloan. You know, he’s a legend. So you know, whenever you get a chance to meet a guy like that, pick his brain a little bit, it’s a pretty cool opportunity.
Did you have to suppress the fanboy in you?
It’s one of those things where, you know, growing up, seeing him, and it’s pretty cool, but at the same time, you know, you just gotta respect him and understand that, you know, he’s someone that’s done it at the highest level and done it, was one of the best to ever do it…He’s a down-to-earth guy, so it makes it pretty easy.
** Which NBA player do you model your game after?
I wouldn’t say anyone in particular. I know at this stage in my career, I’m watching a lot of film on guys like Klay Thompson, J.J. Redick, Mike Miller — a lotta guys that have had success playing a similar style and s–and I’m trying to incorporate some of the things that they’ve had success doing into my own game, so.

** On R.J. Hunter’s workout
Saw ability to get the shot off quickly. Saw ability to have NBA range. Saw ability that he can handle the ball. Still has a lotta work he’s gotta do on his game…He has a lotta work he has to do, work on the defensive end…He closes out like he’s in a zone defense versus playing man to man. So, there’s some things he’s really gonna have to work on during the summer, whoever drafts him, in terms of man-to-man defense, and he’s gonna have to continue to work on it in the fall with the vet camp.
Does he need to change his shot?
Personally, I would like to see him maybe raise it up a little bit on his release, because he’s going to be playing against taller, quicker, faster players who can jump also…Other than that, it’s, his finish is good.
** On T.J. McConnell’s workout
He shot it pretty well, which we weren’t sure on. I know his shot has gotten better since he’s been at Arizona last couple years, but he shot it well in our Jazz 100 [shooting drill]…Tough kid, leader. Helps his teammates become better. Will play, try to play as hard defensively as he possibly can.
** On Nick Paulos’ workout
I can’t see everybody, so I didn’t know anything about Nick…He competed, played hard. And I’m not sure what he did with the Jazz 100, but I think he struggled a little bit on his NBA 3-point shooting. Not used to that. Does he belong? I mean, that’s still to be seen. Is he a draftable, for us, draftable player? Probably not.

One Comment leave one →
  1. cubsmodano permalink
    June 4, 2015 11:19 pm

    Love the Walt Perrin honesty.


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