If the NBA draft was based on first impressions only, Jordan Usher could easily be a No. 1 pick.

The super senior out of Georgia Tech, who spent his first two seasons at USC, is generally not expected to get picked in the upcoming 2022 NBA draft. He’ll more likely end up being one of the many free-agent rookies considered for a G League or two-way deal.

Understanding that it’s possible he’s being overlooked, he made quite a case for himself after his workout for the Utah Jazz on Thursday afternoon.

“I’m from Atlanta, from the South, and I’ve got a chip on my shoulder all the time. I’ve always been underestimated,” Usher said. “I wasn’t the highest-touted kid coming out of middle school, high school, college, whatever. But you know, I’ve stayed down for a long time to come up in a great way. God’s gonna shine his light on me at the right time. I’m stacking my chips.”

The 6-foot-7 do-it-all player has earned a reputation for being able to defend at all five positions and even played small-ball in the post for the Yellow Jackets.

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When asked if he was able to show his strongest attributes during the workout for the Jazz, his instinct was not to mention his improved shooting or his athleticism in transition. The first thing Usher mentioned was that he got to dive on the court a couple of times and show his energy.

“I’m a good soldier, I follow the game plan, I’m able to guard a bunch of different spots, I’ve got good energy,” he said. “My main goal in games is how we win, and a lot of times it’s on the defensive end and I like taking that burden. It’s a challenge to me, I want it all. I want to be able to guard the best player, be able to guard the biggest player, the fastest player. That’s just something I take pride in.”

Usher also noted that at the end of the Jazz workout, after the players are nearly worn out and the Jazz challenge them to fly down the length of the court and complete six full-court layups in 32 seconds, the team originally added two seconds to his timer because he is one of the larger players. Though he was respectful, he declined the extra time.

“They tried to put 34 seconds on me because they had me down as a big man,” he said. “I told them to put it back down to 32 with the rest of the guards, because I’m not a ‘big man’ — I do everything. I don’t need the extra two seconds. I appreciated the courtesy, though.”

Most of the criticism about Usher throughout his collegiate career has centered around his decision making, whether that be tunnel vision when he decides to get downhill or in shot selection. But Usher has shown dramatic improvement in those areas in his time at Georgia Tech, going from shooting 20.5% from 3-point range in his first season with the Yellow Jackets, to 34.2% last season.

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As he has slowed the game down for himself and become more deliberate and intentional on the court, he’s seen improvement and that’s a good lesson to have learned before entering the NBA, where coaches often say that young players need to slow down.

I asked Usher what he would say to a team if it was thinking about giving him a chance. His answer did not disappoint.

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“I’m a taker, I’m blue collar, I’m from the country, I put it down in a genuine way, I give energy,” he said. “I’m a good, high-character young man. I’m a winner. You take a chance on Usher, I’m not gonna fail you. I promise you that.”

Usher was part of a two-group pre-draft session for the Jazz on Thursday.

In the morning session the Jazz saw Adonis Arms from Texas Tech, Lucas Williamson from Loyola-Chicago, Arkansas’ Stanley Umude, Kellen Grady out of Kentucky, Julian Champagnie from St. John’s and Iverson Molinar from Mississippi State.

In the afternoon group, Usher was joined by Daeqwon Plowden out of Bowling Green State, Miami’s Kameron McGusty and Charlie Moore, Illinois product Austin Hutcherson and Michigan’s Eli Brooks.

Georgia Tech guard/forward Jordan Usher dribbles during game against Syracuse in Syracuse, N.Y., Monday, Feb. 21, 2022. Usher worked out for the Jazz Thursday, June 2, 2022, in Salt Lake. | Adrian Kraus, Associated Press
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