Johnny Juzang does not believe that he’s even scratched the surface on what he can do when it comes to his NBA career and he feels like this year can be a stepping stone toward realizing his potential.

“I’ve got a lot to prove and to show who I really am,” Juzang said. “I’m excited and that drives me.”

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On July 19, the Utah Jazz announced they had re-signed Juzang to a two-way contract, giving Juzang another year to split between the Jazz and the Salt Lake City Stars.

“I’m excited to be back,” Juzang said. “I love being in Utah, genuinely. So, I’m really excited to go out there and show what I know I can do and just start  building the groundwork for a long career.”

Juzang’s first year in the NBA, after going undrafted out of UCLA, was marked by sporadic opportunity and injury. He played in just 18 NBA games, all of which came at the tail end of the season and after missing significant time with a grade 3 wrist sprain.

His lack of opportunity followed a junior season at UCLA which was less productive and less than ideal compared to his sophomore season, leaving many people wondering if Juzang should have left UCLA a year earlier.

But Juzang tested the NBA draft waters in 2021 after he helped the Bruins to a Final Four appearance, and felt that he made the best decision in returning for another collegiate year of play. He trusted his intuition, he trusted those closest to him and to this point that hasn’t steered him wrong.

Though the path so far hasn’t been an easy one — going undrafted, only getting a two-way deal, having to settle for limited opportunity — Juzang feels that every step is fueling a fire that he is familiar with. 

“I’ve got a lot to show everybody,” he said. “Look, I mean, I’ve got a chip on my shoulder. I’ve always felt like I’m a great player and I’ve always worked super hard. But a lot of my career, I feel like I’ve been overlooked and even coming into the NBA and going undrafted, trust me, I don’t forget that.”

Juzang acquitted himself well throughout Summer League, shooting better than 50% from 3-point range in Salt Lake City and Las Vegas.

Jazz assistant coach Evan Bradds, who ran the Jazz’s Summer League program, said that he coaches Juzang hard and pushes him because he believes that he can do more than what people have seen thus far, a sentiment that is shared by Juzang.

“I’m back in almost what’s my comfort zone,” Juzang said of being doubted. “I’m going to show them that I should be in this league for a long time and that a lot of people made a mistake.”