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In Utah, Jazz draft picks very excited for an NBA opportunity

SALT LAKE CITY — The newest members of the Utah Jazz organization — second-round draftees Joel Bolomboy, Marcus Paige and Tyrone Wallace — checked some things off of their to-do list on Wednesday.

Visit the building and community they hope to call home?

Check.

Do an introductory media tour?

Check.

Say the right things while being interviewed?

Check.

Almost a week after being selected by the Jazz late in the second round, Bolomboy, Paige and Wallace took time to do the aforementioned as well as meet Jazz community partners, take a quick jaunt around Vivint Arena to become familiar with where things like the locker room and Stockton and Malone statues are, and meet fans, some of whom received free tickets for upcoming summer league games.

The players will begin training camp for the Jazz's summer league and the ensuing event in Las Vegas beginning Friday. The full roster, which is expected to also include second-year players Trey Lyles and Tibor Pleiss, will be announced Thursday.

"I’m so happy to be here," Bolomboy said. "I’m so thankful for this opportunity."

The Jazz nabbed the athletic Weber State forward with the 52nd pick of the 2016 NBA draft after trading the 12th and 42 picks. The 6-foot-9 big man thought he'd be drafted higher after averaging 17.1 points and 12.6 rebounds for the Wildcats this past season and posting terrific all-around physical testing numbers at the NBA Combine in Chicago in May.

Utah was thrilled the 2016 Big Sky player of the year was still on the board when its turn came around at No. 52.

"At the end of the day, it’s so good to go somewhere you’re wanted," Bolomboy said. "Just talking to the coaches and the general manager, I could tell they really wanted me here. They see a future for me. I’m just thankful for that.

"I’m going to come in from day one and work hard and just be the best player I can, and everything else will fall into place."

Bolomboy said he was really excited to be drafted by the team that plays not too far from his college stomping grounds in Ogden. He believes knowing so many people in Utah after a four-year Weber State career and being familiar with the Wasatch Front will help him acclimate quicker to the next challenge he faces — making the Jazz's opening-day roster.

The 22-year-old is so serious about making a positive impression, he went to bed at 1 a.m. after being drafted and then woke up the next morning and went straight to the gym to work out.

"I think I have a great chance at making the roster, but that’s not in my control," Bolomboy said. "I’m going to do what I can do. I’m going to do what I can control, and that’s coming in and work every single day and show them what I can do."

The "them" Bolomboy was referring to wasn't just the Jazz, by the way. He is using the fact that he was passed up by 29 other teams in the first 51 picks as motivation.

"The Jazz took me because they wanted me here. All the other teams that didn’t take me, obviously they didn’t want me," Bolomboy said. "It’s good to be somewhere where you’re wanted. I’m going to make the most of this opportunity. I’m just going to prove the Jazz right in what they saw in me."

Making the final Jazz roster proves to be an even tougher challenge for North Carolina's Paige and California's Wallace, who are among eight point guards under the Jazz umbrella (including George Hill and last year's second-round pick Olivier Hanlan).

That fact isn't dampening their spirits, though.

"It’s an incredible opportunity," said Wallace, a 6-5 combo guard who was the last player to have his name called in this draft. "Growing up since a kid I always said I want to be a professional basketball player, so just getting a chance to hear my name called was very, very exciting for me. I'm just happy to be here."

It was nerve-wracking for him last Thursday, but he took being the 60th pick in stride.

"Everybody wants their name called and so you're sitting there pick after pick, you're waiting," said Wallace, who averaged 15.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists at Cal last year. "It was well worth the wait. I’m excited and just ready to get to work."

Paige felt like he might be selected by the Jazz after he had a good shooting performance, something he wanted to do to show he can shoot after a subpar shooting season as a senior, and defended DeMetrius Jackson well in his pre-draft workout in Utah.

"To hear my name called, it was a great feeling," he said.

Paige did some advanced scouting on Utah with former Jazz forward Marvin Williams, another North Carolina guy.

"He said he loved it. He said it snows a lot. I'm from Iowa. I can handle the snow," Paige said, laughing. "He says (there are) a lot of great people. He says they value character around here. That’s something that’s important to me. The fact that he felt at home here — he’s one of the best people I’ve ever met — so that speaks a lot about this area and this organization."

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