But I think the Jazz are headed in the right direction. We certainly took a big step last year. With the 2014-15 season now officially behind us, I’m looking forward to a new one now and helping Utah take another big step forward. – Gordon Hayward
Just two more days until all the speculation is over. The 2015 NBA Draft is nearly here.
On Monday evening, ESPN’s Chad Ford and Jay Bilas did a mock draft on Twitter, with the two analysts alternating picks until the first round was complete.
Ford got the chance to pick for the Jazz and selected Kansas small forward Kelly Oubre.
According to Oubre, that would bode well for Utah.
During his workout in Salt Lake City, Oubre said, “Whoever calls my name on draft night, I’m going to help them win a championship and give them the best shot.”
So, yeah, just a little confident.
Speaking of championships, Utah’s Gordon Hayward broke down just how Golden State was able to win the title. He also said seeing the Warriors grow together as a team gave him some extra hope that the Jazz could accomplish the same thing.
“Seeing the Warriors build to it they way they did is certainly a confidence-builder for other teams in the league that are building, like us in Utah,” Hayward wrote. “It gives you a little bit of assurance that, if you stick to the process and the plan of how the organization is moving things forward, you can definitely put a team together and make a big run. That’s not to say that anybody can do it. You obviously have to have the talent and players, and people have to buy into that. But I think the Jazz are headed in the right direction. We certainly took a big step last year. With the 2014-15 season now officially behind us, I’m looking forward to a new one now and helping Utah take another big step forward.”
Currently, it looks like the Jazz will return nearly everyone from last year’s team as Utah only has two free agents in Jeremy Evans and Joe Ingles, who is a restricted free agent. Jazz fans may have a soft spot for the former dunk champion and the 27-year old rookie Australian, but SB Nation’s Tom Ziller certainly doesn’t. Ziller ranked all 179 free agents and the two Jazzman didn’t end up too high on the list.
Evans comes in at 118, while Ingles, who was a rotation player for the Jazz for much of the season, finished 178, or second to last.
Taysom Hill among QBs to watch
BYU quarterback Taysom Hill was getting quite a bit of national attention before he suffered a season-ending injury against Utah State last season. With Hill looking fully healthy again, a lot of people are excited to see him back under center again.
NFL.com listed the top college football quarterbacks to watch this coming season, and while Hill didn't crack the top 10, he was still mentioned.
“Hill has had his season cut short by injury in two of his three seasons at BYU.” Lance Zierlein wrote. “When healthy, he showed off his trademark toughness as a runner along with zip and improved accuracy on his throws.”
Hill wasn’t the only player with BYU-ties to appear on a list. Dan Ralph of The Canadian Press mentioned 10 players worth watching in the CFL and former Cougar receiver Austin Collie is included.
“The former NFL star is looking to resurrect his football career with the B.C. Lions,” Ralph wrote. “Collie had 179 catches for 1,908 yards with 16 TDs over five NFL seasons with Indianapolis and New England Patriots. The Hamilton native missed extended time in 2010 with a concussion and nearly all of 2012 the result of a torn patellar tendon.”
Brekkott Chapman’s silver lining
Utah sophomore Brekkott Chapman was one of the final players to get cut from the U19 Team USA basketball team. His college head coach, though, thinks that might just be a good thing in the end.
“Larry Krystkowiak is telling me that this might end up working in his favor because he has to gain weight this upcoming summer,” ESPN’s Andy Katz said on his 3-Point Shot video. “The environment at Utah, he thinks it will be a little better for him to do that in Salt Lake City then traveling around with USA basketball. Obviously, it would be a great experience for him to make the team, but now they are looking for the silver lining. He's got to put on some weight and he can do that a little bit better in Utah, and could be a key contributor for the Utes next season.”
Katz also mentioned Utah’s December game against Duke in Madison Square Garden, calling it “a great game for both teams.”
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