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Utah Jazz: Pargo plays while Collison stays away

Former Gonzaga University guard Jeremy Pargo sepaks to the media at the Zions Bank Basketball Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday.
Former Gonzaga University guard Jeremy Pargo sepaks to the media at the Zions Bank Basketball Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday.
Mike Terry, Deseret News

One point guard didn't show.

Another did, and not only worked out, but did so much to the Jazz's surprise.

The one who didn't come to Utah's eight-man pre-draft auditions Sunday was UCLA product Darren Collison, who evidently shied away because of the presence of another certain Jazz point.

Collison, a projected mid-to-late first-round pick in Thursday's NBA Draft, was a late scratch Friday.

He, Jazz player personnel vice president Walt Perrin said Sunday, felt that "because of Deron Williams, he may not get a lot of playing time."

Translation: Utah, please don't pick me.

One point who did answer Sunday's call was Gonzaga senior Jeremy Pargo, brother of four-team NBA guard Jannero Pargo.

He was in Utah despite injuring his knee when he banged it auditioning Saturday at Denver.

"He's a physical kid, strong," Perrin said of the 6-foot-2, 220-pounder.

"We were impressed that he went through the workout today, because we didn't think he was. He toughed it up, and came out and played well."

Pargo was more than happy to take part, and — especially after playing plenty of pickup games against retired Jazz point John Stockton in Spokane, Wash., Gonzaga's home — he wouldn't at all mind landing in Utah.

"Being able to learn behind a guy like Deron — it's a blessing in disguise," he said. "You know, most people look at it as a place where you're not gonna get much opportunity, but you get a ton of opportunity being able to learn from those guys on a daily basis."

The second-round hopeful averaged 10.2 points and 4.9 assists per game as a senior.

"He needs to work on his outside shooting," Perrin said, "but he knows how to run a team."

Pargo worked out Sunday with Baylor guard Curtis Jerrells, Wake Forest forward James Johnson and Connecticut forward Jeff Adrien.

Sunday's first session included Gonzaga forward Josh Heytvelt, Houston center Marcus Cousin and University of Utah teammates Luke Nevill and Shaun Green.

The Jazz pick No. 20 overall in the first round and No. 50 in the second Thursday.

STOCKTON TO PARGO: As the point at his alma mater, Pargo got to know Stockton well.

"Throughout the year John and me have our conversations, our heart-to-hearts," he said.

"He's always there whenever I needed him," Pargo added, "and I can call him right now today and say I'll be in Spokane tomorrow to work out and he'll be right there for me. I love him for that."

DIFFERENT EXCUSE: Syracuse product Paul Harris missed his scheduled Saturday workout with the Jazz, but for a much-different reason than Collison.

His flight from Chicago was canceled due to inclement weather.

Still, the Jazz seem quite high on the strong-rebounding shooting guard, a second-round prospect.

"We love his toughness, we the love the physical-ness of how he plays, we love the way he can rebound," Perrin said.

MORE TODAY: Five more prospects will work out for the Jazz this morning, including possible first-round pick DeJuan Blair of the University of Pittsburgh.

Blair's Pitt teammate, swingman Sam Young, auditioned Saturday in Utah. draft specialist Chad Ford projects the 6-foot-7 Blair — a power forward at Pitt — will go No. 21 overall to New Orleans, one pick after Utah takes Young.

Also scheduled to work out today: Georgia Tech forward Alade Aminu, Marquette swingman Wesley Matthews, Michigan State center Goran Suton and French point guard Nando DeColo.

None of those four are projected first-rounders, according to Ford's top-100 prospects list.