By Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, the Jazz will have their Draft Day wish list complete. The goal: Try to get someone who can help the team in a year or two.
The annual NBA Draft extravaganza will be held Wednesday in New York (5:30 p.m. MDT), with a direct feed to the Salt Palace. From there, Jazz fans can cheer or jeer the latest arrival.As per tradition, the Jazz aren't saying much about their plans. A week ago team Director of Player Personnel Scott Layden said he had a dozen people he was looking at drafting. "We have a list of names so long you can't believe it," he said. By Monday, there were still five or six considerations. "Right now we don't know ourselves who we are taking," continued Layden.
But as always, a lot depends on who is chosen ahead. The Jazz pick 21st in this year's draft - in both the first and second rounds.
A year ago the Jazz were gearing up for the No. 23 pick when they suddenly acquired Jeff Malone in a trade that also left them with the No. 33 selection overall. But, said Layden, the likelihood of such an occurrence this year is slim. "I think this year we'll end up with the No. 21 pick," he said.
Not that the Jazz haven't tried to improve their pick. Layden said they've "talked with every team in the league" about their options. But, as in the stock market and real estate, everyone wants to buy low and sell high.
Layden said this year's draft has three levels: the premier picks, the good picks, and the rest. The six top players are Larry Johnson (UNLV), Kenny Anderson (Georgia Tech), Billy Owens (Syracuse), Dikembe Mutombo (Georgetown), Doug Smith (Missouri) and Steve Smith (Michigan State). After that come seven other strong selections, including Luc Longley (New Mexico), Stacey Augmon (UNLV), Stanley Roberts (Spain, LSU), Mark Macon (Temple), Billy Williams (Arizona), Rich King (Nebraska).
And somewhere after that the Jazz will make their pick. Layden has mentioned interest in Mark Randall (Kansas), Terrell Brandon (Oregon), Rodney Monroe (N.C. State), Anthony Avent (Seton Hall), LaBradford Smith (Louisville), Chad Gallagher (Creighton), Chris Gatling (Old Dominion) and Dale Davis (Clemson).
"Our mentality," said Layden, "is to just find a player who can play in the NBA. Even if it's a power forward or a 2-guard, we'll take that guy."
Staying with the "best player available" approach, here is a look, by position, at some of the players that could be remaining by the 21st pick:
- Terrell Brandon (6-0, 180, Oregon). An early entry, Brandon is being projected by many writers to be available by the 21st pick. Says Layden, "He'll probably go just before we make our pick."
Brandon is an excellent scorer. Though he is being listed as a point guard, he isn't a pure point guard. He was the Pac-10 Player of the Year as a junior.
- Eric Murdock (6-2, 190, Providence). Is the NCAA's alltime leader in steals with 376. However, odds are long he will be gone by the time the Jazz pick. "Eric Murdock is one of the best backcourt players at both ends of the floor in college basketball today," said Kentucky Coach Rick Pitino. "His hands are the quickest in basketball, and he should be an outstanding NBA guard."
- Chris Corchiani (6-1, 186, N.C. State). The only player in NCAA history to register more than 1,000 assists.
- And the long, long, long shot . . . Mike Iuzzolini (5-10, 180, St. Francis). Maybe their second-round choice. No particular reason why the Jazz would pick him, except that he visited the Jazz locker room when St. Francis was in town for the NCAA Tournament. And because Layden played his college ball there. He was named Northeast Conference Player of the Year. He was selected NABC scholar-athlete of the year and was academic All-America first team. That type of hard-working, studious, no-nonsense player is something the Jazz like.SHOOTING GUARDS
- Rodney Monroe (6-3, 185, N.C. State). Another player that has been on the Jazz list. ACC Player of the Year. Most intriguing to the Jazz is his shooting ability. Made almost 48 percent of his shots this year, including a school-record 43.5 percent from three-point range last year. Will probably be gone when the Jazz draft.
- Kevin Lynch (6-5, 197, Minnesota). Projected to go late in the first round or early second round. "A Bob Hansen type of guy," said Layden. Lynch is the school's alltime leader in three-point field goals made (117). "He is a prototype big guard with great shooting range and excellent ballhandling skills. He is definitely a pro prospect because of his size, strength and versatility," said Michigan State Coach Jud Heathcote.
- LaBradford Smith (6-3, 200, Louisville). Great showing in the Orlando All-Star Classic. Is Louisville's all-time leader in three-pointers made. Holds Louisville assist records for career, season and game.
And the long, long, long shot . . . Greg Sutton (6-2, 170, Oral Roberts). The Jazz have done well drafting players from small programs. Sutton was NAIA Player of the Year, averaging 34 points a game as a senior. He scored 68 points in one game and made 40 percent of his three-point attempts.SMALL FORWARDS
- Chris Gatling (6-9, 220, Old Dominion). A two-time Sun Belt Player of the Year, he averaged 21 points and 11 rebound a game as a senior. "He's basically the kind of player who's going to play defense inside, blocking shots, but he can also play guys on the wing. I think he's got the ability to defend big time," says Allan Bristow, the Hornets' V.P. of basketball.
- Rick Fox (6-7, 231, N. Carolina). Can also play a guard. He holds the school's all-time record for steals. Was the only ACC player ranked among the league leaders in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals, field goal percentage and fre throw percentage.
- Keith Hughes (6-9, 235, Rutgers). Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. Led the league in rebounding (10.0) and was second in scoring (21.0).
- Melvin Cheatum (6-8, 200, Alabama) Averaged 16.5 points and 7.8 rebounds as a senior. Named All-SEC first team.
- Dale Davis (6-11, 235, Clemson). Led ACC in rebounding three straight years, including the highest average (12.1) in the league in 14 seasons. "There are not many players who play the game as hard as Davis. He's what I call a workmanlike player. He's someone you have to try and keep off the boards. You can't keep him off all night," said Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski.
- Chad Gallagher (6-10, 245, Creighton). Missouri Valley Player of the Year. Led the league in blocked shots two straight years.
- Shaun Vandiver (6-10, 240, Colorado). Named MVP of the Orlando Classic in April, averaging 20 points and 11.3 rebounds in three games. Had a knee injury early in his college career, and questions linger.
- John Turner (6-9, 245, Phillips). MVP of the Portsmouth Invitational and All-Tourney at Orlando, thus making a big splash at the post-season camps. Led the Sooner Athletic Conference in scoring (23.9) and rebounding (13.7). Is versatile enough to fill more than one spot. "He has the skills to play small forward and the strength to play power forward. And he plays like a warrior," said Jerry Reynolds, the Sacramento director of player personnel. "At his size, he'll have to. I like what I've seen."
- Anthony Avent (6-10, 235, Seton Hall). Averaged 17.8 points and 9.9 rebounds as a senior. "He improves every year," said Layden.
- George Ackles (6-9, 215, UNLV). Averaged 8.2 points and 5.7 rebounds for the Rebels. Sat out the 1989-90 season with a broken wrist.
- Victor Alexander (6-9, 265, Iowa State). Led the conference in scoring (23.1) and was second in block shots (1.7) as a senior. Some project he will go as high as 24th or 25th in the Draft.
- Pete Chilcutt (6-10, 23, N. Carolina). As with Alexander, may go in the late first round. An all-tourney player at Orlando. Averaged 12.09 points and 6.6 rebounds, shooting .538 from the field.
- Mark Randall (6-9, 235, Kansas). Led the Jayhawks with a 15-point average. His .620 is the alltime field goal percentage record for the Big Eight Conference.
- Donald Hodge (7-0, 230, Temple). While such centers as Mutombo, Stanley King, Roberts, Brian Williams and Longley will probably be gone when the Jazz pick, Hodge may not. An early entry this year, he averaged 11.6 points and 6.9 rebounds as a junior.
- LeRon Ellis (6-11, 250, Syracuse). Some prognosticators say the Jazz will take Ellis. He averaged 11.1 points and 7.7 rebounds last year. Originally started his career at Kentucky before transferring for his final two years.
- Alvaro Teheran (7-1, 235, Houston). Though he is a foreign-born player who played college ball at Houston that's where the similarities end. Sorry, he's no Olajuwon. Named all-defensive team selection in the Southwest Conference. A native of Columbia, he played his first two seasons at Houston Baptist.
Name Ht. Wt. School
Anthony Avent 6-10 235 Seton Hall
Mark Randall 6-9 235 Kansas
Chris Gatling 6-9 220 Old Dominion
Chad Gallagher 6-10 245 Creighton
LaBradford Smith 6-3 200 Louisville
Terrell Brandon 6-0 180 Oregon
Rodney Monroe 6-3 185 N.C. State