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Former Salt Lake City Stars top pick Willie Reed returns to Utah Jazz mini-camp in good health after season-ending injury

SALT LAKE CITY — Willie Reed sustained a season-ending shoulder injury as a member of the Salt Lake City Stars in January, which forced the G-League team to waive its 2018 No. 1 pick.

On Wednesday, the 6-foot-11 center returned to Utah, among 30 free agent invitees to participate in the team's annual mini-camp which features three workouts over a two-day span.

“He was great. He was healthy, which is great to see,” said Bart Taylor, the Jazz’s director of scouting and vice president of basketball operations for the Stars.

“He did a good job so far in the five-on-five and he looked like his normal self which is great to see,” Taylor added of Reed. “We’re happy for him and happy to have him back.”

Reed averaged 20.1 points and 11.2 rebounds per game in 21 starts for the Stars before sustaining the injury. He was also named to the Midseason All-NBA G League Team for the Western Conference in February.

Outside of Reed, Taylor and Jazz assistant Mike Wells were pretty tight-lipped about other standouts from the first session. The workouts consisted of mostly 5-on-5 and 1-on-1 sessions for the players to showcase their individual skills.

Stars players Jairus Lyles, Isaac Haas, Tanner McGrew and Tre’Shaun Fletcher were also in attendance.

Jazz swingman Royce O’Neale was actually discovered in the 2016 mini-camp while other players such as Philadelphia’s Jonathon Simmons in 2015 and Golden State’s Alfonzo McKinnie were also previous attendees.

Guys are identified throughout the year by the scouting staff — both international and professional — and the Jazz like to bring them all in to give them a chance to compete for a spot on the Jazz roster. Reed is trying to claw his way back into the league.

“It’s huge. We’ll definitely pull guys out of the mini-camp that will be on our Summer League team hopefully,” Taylor said. “Last year, we had Trey Lewis in here and he ended up on Summer League and the Stars and a couple other guys.

“We use this for Summer League and to get to the Stars but also to bring to training camp and compete for a Jazz spot more than anything,” he added.