Utah Jazz: Josh Huestis looking to go smaller in NBA
NBA • Stanford star, trying make move from the post to the wing, works out for the Jazz.
Published: May 9, 2014 09:38AM
Updated: May 8, 2014 11:19PM
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Stanford's Josh Huestis (24) drives against Utah's Jordan Loveridge during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, March 3, 2013, in Stanford, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

In the next six weeks, the Utah Jazz will bring a good many players through in order to work them out and do their diligence in preparing for June’s NBA draft.

Not many will have as much in common with Salt Lake City as former Stanford star Josh Huestis.

A 6-foot-8 forward, Huestis has family ties to the area. His uncle Quincey has lived in Salt Lake City for the past decade. And while Huestis has visited the area many times, he also hails from Montana, a place that resembles Utah with its climate and reputation for outdoor activities.

In short, if the Jazz were to draft Huestis, he wouldn’t have much of a transition to make.

“It would be a blessing to make the NBA, but being in Salt Lake would be fun,” Huestis said. “I’m very close to my uncle, I was just with him yesterday. He’s actually known as the Jazz hater. But I’m sure he would convert if I were to come here.”

Huestis highlighted a group of seniors who are projected second round picks or free agents.

Utah and BYU fans should be familiar Huestis, a three-year starter for the Cardinal. He enters the pre-draft process with a reputation for being a defensive stopper. He is also still making his transition to small forward.

Huestis was one of the best high school players in the history of Montana basketball — he was the state’s player of the year in 2010.

For him, it’s been a long transition from the post to the wing, but his reputation as a defender is well earned. He’s a two-time all-conference defender. He recorded 190 blocked shots in four years at Stanford. He was the primary defender on Andrew Wiggins in Stanford’s second round upset of the Jayhawks in the NCAA Tournament.

“I’ve been trying to get my handle down, and I think it can still be tighter,” Huestis said. “I’ve gone from never leaving the paint in high school to playing strictly small forward. It’s been a process.”

Walt Perrin, Utah’s vice president of player personnel, said that Huestis’ ability to hit the corner 3-pointer will make or break his chances at the NBA level. He showcased his athleticism before the Jazz on Thursday, and his ability to defend on the perimeter, before hustling off and addressing the media.

“He’s got a lot of experience, but this is the time of year where you are bringing in a lot of seniors,” Perrin said. “They are older and they’ve been through a little bit more in terms of being in school over four years.”

tjones@sltrib.com

twitter: @tjonessltrib

Josh Huestis file

• Started all 36 games this season with Stanford and led the Cardinal in rebounding

• Holds the career Stanford record for blocked shots

• Hails from Great Falls, Montana

• His uncle Quincey Hodges resides in Salt Lake City