Between his 7-foot-7 wingspan that measured as the longest of any player in the draft and the 5.3 blocks a game he averaged at Marshall last season, Hassan Whiteside might be the biggest mystery among any projected first-round pick.
A 7-foot center, Whiteside averaged 13.1 points and 8.9 rebounds as a freshman before declaring for the draft. The Jazz brought him in for a workout Thursday along with Kansas center Cole Aldrich , Baylor forward Ekpe Udoh and Iowa State forward Craig Brackins .
"He's the unknown out of the group right here because he's only been a freshman, so we only have one year of tapes on him," said Walt Perrin , the Jazz's vice president of player personnel.
"But he is extremely long. He can be very athletic. He can intimidate people around the basket. So he's an intriguing possibility."
Whiteside, however, readily admitted to reporters that he struggled in the workout ("I don't think I did that good") and offered head-scratching answers to innocuous questions such as whether he pays attention to his standing in mock drafts.
"That's some nonsense to me," Whiteside said. He described himself as going to Marshall because he wasn't a "big name" out of high school, yet also said he was recruited by West Virginia, Kentucky, Memphis, Connecticut and Xavier.
Whiteside said his shot-blocking separates him from other prospects -- "Everybody wants to score. Not everybody wants to play defense" -- and was asked about the perceived risk in taking such an unproven player in the first round.
"I just want to work hard and be good, be great," said Whiteside, who did not interview with the Jazz at last month's predraft combine in Chicago. "I don't think it's a risk at all, but that's what they're saying."
Whiteside also referenced the things that NBA teams don't know about him. Such as what? "That I'm a good guy," Whiteside said. "That I'm willing to work hard."
With the Jazz hosting three of college basketball's six leading shot blockers at Thursday's workout, the question was how well the skill translates to the NBA. "If you want to do it and you love to do it, it's going to translate," Udoh said.
Perrin said that as much as shot blocking has to do with length and athleticism, it's also a product of timing. "You don't lose that coming to the NBA," Perrin said. "It's very similar to rebounding, I think."
The Jazz also worked out Texas guard Avery Bradley , a possible lottery pick, and Duke guard Jon Scheyer . Bradley said he wanted to play point guard in the NBA, but the Jazz already have Deron Williams entrenched at the position.