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Michigan State guard Forbes impresses in latest Utah Jazz player workout

SALT LAKE CITY — When the Utah Jazz work out prospective players, which is just about every day this time of year, they look at it like a job interview. As much as watching the players’ skills, the Jazz want to see how players compete and react to the altitude of Utah.

“The thing I want to see in these workouts is see a guy compete, to fight through the fatigue factor,” said Walt Perrin, Utah’s vice president of player personnel. “It tells us that he’s a competitor and that he knows this is a job interview and he’s going to put all he can for that."

When asked if the workouts are more mental than physical, Perrin said, “It’s a little of both, especially here. Other places, besides Denver, might do something different in their workouts for mental evaluation. With us and Denver we can always see how well they fight through fatigue in the altitude.”

One player who impressed Perrin in Wednesday’s six-man workout was Michigan State guard Bryn Forbes, who averaged 14.4 points on 48.1 percent 3-point shooting last year for the Spartans.

“He really competed, fought through fatigue … like I expected he would coming from Michigan State,” Perrin said. “He shot the ball like we know he can shoot it. He shot extremely well. He talked, tried to play defense … he had a good workout.”

Forbes, who started his career at Cleveland State, where he averaged 14 points per game in two seasons, was happy with his performance Wednesday.

“It went real well,” he said. “I think I shot it very well and I played pretty well too. I think I have more to offer than (shooting). I think I’m a little more athletic than they thought I was and a better defender than they thought I was.”

Forbes gives a lot of credit to his improvement the last couple of years to his playing for coach Tom Izzo at Michigan State.

“Absolutely, he’s probably the toughest coach you can play for, but also the best coach you can play for,” he said. “He demands a lot, which helps you reach your potential. He prides his program on defensive toughness. Also he made me a better shooter.”

Forbes said he has talked to some former MSU standouts such as Draymond Green and Magic Johnson about what to expect as he tries to make the NBA.

“They say, 'just give it your best, just do what you do and don’t do anything outside of your game,’” he said.

Perrin compared Forbes to former Jazzman Ian Clark, who now plays for the Golden State Warriors, and said he wasn’t concerned about what position he'd play with his 6-foot-3, 190-pound frame.

“They’re about the same size, they shoot it about the same,” he said. “ Bryn can get his shot a little better off the dribble than Ian could. If a team likes a player well enough, they’ll figure out a way to have him play.”

One player who didn’t impress as much as expected was Louisiana-Lafayette big man Shawn Long, who averaged 15.5 ppg and 10.6 rpg as a four-year starter. At least Perrin was a bit hesitant while talking about the 6-foot-11, 246-pounder’s workout.

“He has a good skill set, but we’ll have to wait and see,” he said. “How did he play today? I think he could have played better. I think the altitude got to him a little bit, like most of the guys in this workout. I don’t think he shot it extremely well.”

Of the six players who were on hand at Zion’s Bank Basketball Center Wednesday, Long seems the most ready to play in the NBA. But he may have a ways to go, according to Perrin.

“We’ll have to wait and see if he’s an NBA big man," he said. "Some guys come in and play right away and other guys it’s going to take a couple of years.”

Other players who worked out Wednesday were New Mexico State forward Pascal Siakam, IPFW guard Max Landis, Syracuse guard Trevor Cooney and Georgia guard Kenny Gaines.

The Jazz will have several more workouts this month before the draft, but none on Thursday.