The Zions Bank Basketball Center in Salt Lake City was represented by the Buckeye State in a big way on Monday, June 2 as two Ohio State Buckeyes standouts took the court to impress Jazz staff and personnel leading up to the 2014 NBA Draft.
None of the players who were in Utah on Monday are likely to be taken in the draft. Aaron Craft might sound familiar to Jazz fans because you saw him at the NCAA Tournament. So might LaQuinton Ross, Craft’s teammate at Ohio State. Both Craft and Ross worked out for the Jazz on Monday.
Craft is not on any Mock Draft boards and neither is Ross. Craft averaged 10 points, four rebounds and three steals per game in his senior year. At 6-2 Craft is still short for a point guard but his defensive skills are off the charts.
As for Ross, he falls into that small-forward position the Jazz need. At 6-8 and 220 pounds he’ll need to hit the weight room hard. He scored about 15 points and six rebounds per game and is long.
Cameron Bairstow of the New Mexico Lobos is another name that will sound familiar to Jazz and Utah State fans. The Australian had an incredible senior year, averaging 20 points per game to go with almost eight boards. At 6-8 he’s got enough athleticism to shoot from the outside, making him an intriguing player for the Jazz because he can float between playing at power forward and at center.
Billy Baron of Canisius is another Jimmer Fredette type who is a pure scorer at 24 points per game --but he has bounced around several Division I schools following his father, who was also a coach. James Bell is a 6-6 guard from Villanova who can stroke the three pointer.
6-8 forward Roscoe Smith of the UNLV Rebels rounds out the Jazz’ pre-draft hopefuls on Monday. Smith transferred from UConn after his sophomore season and played only one year in Sin City--but he averaged a double-double in scoring and rebounding in the only year he played for the Rebels.