SALT LAKE CITY — Chris Smith is from northern California, but he used to watch Utah Jazz games during his college days at Utah State.
That made Sunday’s opportunity — to be able to participate in a pre-draft workout with the Beehive State’s NBA team — all the more special for him.
“It’s a great experience to actually be in here and practice and shoot,” Smith said as sweat dripped off his head following his hour-and-a-half session.
This was the first NBA workout for Smith. The 6-foot-4 guard isn’t on draft boards, so he’s embracing any chance he gets to perform in front of coaches, scouts and front-office personnel.
The All-MWC third-teamer averaged 15.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists for the Aggies last season.
“I’m just trying to show people how I can score in many different ways, my effectiveness,” Smith said. “I shot 47 percent (in my) career from the 3 and 49 percent from field, just try to show people I’m a good finisher and an efficient player.”
While the Jazz traditionally give local athletes a chance to work out this time each year, it also helped Smith’s cause that his college coach, USU’s Tim Duryea, and Jazz coach Quin Snyder are friends.
“I know they talk a lot,” Smith said. “He’s definitely helped me out in this aspect for getting me this workout. Hopefully this keeps it going and people will recognize and see (me).”
Smith said he got some helpful tips from USU’s Jalen Moore, who worked out for the Jazz last month before opting to remain in Logan for his senior season. He also believes it’s in Moore’s best interest to stay in school for another year.
“He definitely has the talent to go, but I think another year there would be beneficial to him so everyone can see that he’s a really good scorer,” Smith said. “We both averaged 15 points, so with me gone I feel like he would step up to the plate and be able to get a lot more points.”
As for Smith’s future, he’s hoping for a long-shot NBA opportunity but would likely choose a D-League route over heading over to Europe at first.
“I’m just hoping to get picked up and get on a summer-league team and just show what I can do there, just show people I’m willing to work and do whatever I need to do to gain a spot on the team.”
JAZZ NOTES: Sunday’s workout also included USC forward Nikola Jovanovic, Wake Forest guard Codi Miller-McIntyre, Spanish center Jodan Sakho and Cal guard Tyrone Wallace. … The Jazz will host their annual free-agent mini-camp this week. … Baker said he’s already participated in eight workouts and still has six left. “It’s been pretty tiring on the body, not so much the workouts, but getting to airports and trying to figure out where your luggage is, don’t remember where you came from, staying in hotels, in and out all the time. It’s a different transition than what I’m used to. Obviously to play in the league, you’ve got to get used to that.”