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Araujo impresses O’Connor

So does CU’s Harrison, who also worked out

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Former BYU center Rafael Araujo worked out for the Jazz on Friday.

Former BYU center Rafael Araujo worked out for the Jazz on Friday.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret Morning News

In the humor department, University of Colorado center David Harrison emerged from Friday's workout with the Jazz a step up on the competition.

"I don't really eat anything that tastes good anymore," said Harrison, an NBA draft prospect who has turned to a special diet to help tone his 7-foot, 292-pound body.

"But it's definitely working out. I look better," Harrison added. "If this basketball career doesn't work out, I might go into modeling or something."

Bah-dump-ump.

As for who emerged a step ahead in the latest showdown Harrison had with fellow first-round prospect Rafael Araujo of BYU, that question's answer is more open-ended.

The Jazz do not permit media members to see the actual workout and decide for themselves.

Those who did watch suggest Araujo, a potential mid-first round or even a possible lottery selection, probably is likelier to be taken before Harrison, a projected late first rounder.

But no one was willing to declare either a clear-cut winner after this, their third head-to-head face-off in front of NBA scouts.

"Both of them," said Kevin O'Connor, the Jazz's senior vice president of basketball operations, "did things that we asked them to do.

"They did it," he added, "better than we would have thought they would."

The 6-11, 295-pound Araujo, O'Connor suggested, is a possible match for the Jazz, who own the 14th, 16th and 21st selections in the draft's opening round.

"He's a dying breed. He's a center. So, he's gonna get a lot of play," said O'Connor, whose club is searching for help at the power forward and center spots. "You ask, 'Would he be a nice fit here?' Yeah, because, you know what? He's a worker. He's a tough kid. And he's improved."

And he has room for even more improvement, as the feisty 23-year-old Brazilian played only two seasons of major-college basketball.

"He needs to play 82 games. He needs to learn to stay out of foul trouble," O'Connor said. "But talent-wise, he's a talented kid."

Talented enough to contribute right away?

"He's a guy — because of his body, because of the fact that there's a need at that position — that I think, for everyone, he'd have the opportunity to do that," O'Connor said.

"I can tell you that physically he's ready to do it," the Jazz exec added. "Now you've got to see skill level, and (if) mentally he's ready to do it."

Araujo, who has auditioned for scouts from 10 NBA teams and has several more workouts scheduled in the weeks ahead, suggests he is prepared to play at the next level.

And if it happens to be in Utah, he's all for it.

"They need a big guy," Araujo said.

"I love this town, I love the community. I had a great two years here, and now I have all my friends from here," he added. "Who knows? That's not my decision. . . . Whatever it (may) be, I just want to come to a team and play, help the team win."

As for Harrison, who has about four more workouts scheduled in which he will be matched with Araujo, the Colorado center earned the BYU big man's praises Friday.

"He's a tough player, too," Araujo said.

"He's strong, he's solid. He's a great player. I respect him. We're just (taking) care of business. You know, he's looking for a paycheck, I'm looking for a paycheck, and we try to play ball."

Even Harrison, who took issue with reports suggesting Araujo dominated their first matchup to the point of a premature conclusion, declined to declare a winner Friday.

"It was another battle," he said.

"Everybody is gonna have their day," Harrison added. "There might be a day I come out here, and I can flip a shot behind my head, and it'll go in. . . . (But) we're both physical players, and we're both gonna do fine in the NBA, no matter where we fall."

Harrison, too, thinks he would be a good fit in Utah.

"I don't know if (Greg) Ostertag (a restricted free agent) is coming back or not," he said, "but I'm another big body they can have to throw into the fire."

Seven feet, 292 pounds worth of big.

Or at least that is what he was until sweating through Friday's workout with the Jazz.

"I'm probably gonna leave here," Harrison said, "about 260."

Bah-dump-ump.


E-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com