Former BYU guard Jimmer Fredette and ex-Connecticut guard Kemba Walker are scheduled to work out June 15 for the Jazz, a league source said Monday. The duo could also be joined by guard Brandon Knight (Kentucky).
Fredette and Walker were set to work out together Thursday for Sacramento. However, Walker pulled out of the session due to a scheduling conflict. The duo attempted to pair up for several workouts during the build up toward the June 23 NBA Draft, but their lone remaining matchup is with the Jazz.
Fredette said last Friday that he expects to work out for the Kings, Phoenix and Utah by mid-June. Meanwhile, Walker will reportedly work out Tuesday for Toronto, Wednesday for Detroit and June 13 for Sacramento.
Walker is projected as an early first-round pick, while Fredette is expected to be chosen during the middle to late first round. Fredette tested well during the recent draft combine, though, and was impressive during workouts last week with Indiana and New York. With just 17 days remaining before selection day, Fredette wants to prove that he can compete with highly touted guards such as Walker and Knight.
"Kemba's a very good player and I like him. He's a good guy. He's fun to be around," said Fredette, who won the 2011 Wooden and Naismith awards. "But he's a competitor, and so am I. And you want to go out there and show that you can play with anybody. That's what I've been wanting to do my whole career, and I'm looking forward to battling against him again."
Walker carried the Huskies to the 2011 NCAA men's basketball championship, knocking off Knight's Wildcats during the semifinals. The duo will reportedly work out Tuesday during separate sessions for the Raptors, and they are expected to receive serious consideration for the Jazz's No. 3 overall pick. Walker's size and athleticism have been questioned, though, while the 19-year-old Knight left Kentucky after his freshman year.
Fredette faces more questions, and he acknowledged that he is more concerned about landing with a team that fits his playing style rather than being drafted as high as possible. Still, he could come into play with Utah's No. 12 overall pick if the Jazz use their initial selection on a European big man such as Turkish center Enes Kanter, who worked out for Utah during a private session last Friday in Chicago. Perimeter shooting was one the Jazz's main weak points last season, and Fredette already possesses NBA range. He converted 39.6 percent of his 3-point attempts last season for BYU, while leading the nation in average scoring (28.9).
"It's all about longevity of the career," Fredette said. "If you're in the wrong situation, even if you go high, your career can be cut really short and that's not what you want. You want to be able to stay in it for a long time. I hope to be in the NBA for a long time and have a great career."
Brian T. Smith