If Sam Dower Jr. walked into the Marriott Center right now, like he has so many times before with Gonzaga over the last few years, BYU fans would hardly recognize him.
Gone is the chubby frame that hindered him when he was a Bulldog. Gone is 20 pounds of weight, replaced by a sleek frame and actual muscle definition in his arms and torso.
Dower worked out for the Utah Jazz on Tuesday morning, and he treated his return to Salt Lake City like a professional. He shot the ball extremely well from the perimeter, showed refined skills in the post, and athleticism that had been lacking during his collegiate career.
“I’ve been working out since the end of the season,” Dower said. “Just getting a workout in everyday and trying to eat the right things. It’s worked.”
Dower knew what to expect, coming in. He’s been teammates with David Stockton — the son of John — over the last four years. He knew he was expected to work hard and to “bring a lunchpail.”
While impressed with Dower’s morning and overall workout, Jazz VP of Player Personnel Walt Perrin still had questions. Noting the weight loss, he wondered why players wait until the draft process to get into top shape? Why aren’t they in shape during the college basketball season?
“It’s a concern of ours,” Perrin said. “I thought Sam played well, and I thought he showed some good things. He still has a long way to go, but he played well.”
For the third consecutive workout, the Jazz brought in six players who are all thought to be second round picks at best. Among Tuesday’s group: Niels Giffey, a 6-foot-7 guard who hit some important shots in UConn’s run to the NCAA title. Melvin Ejim, the 6-6 small forward from Iowa State who had a well-publicized run-in with BYU fans this past year at the Marriott Center, and Scottie Wilbekin, the cerebral 6-2 point guard from Florida.
Perrin talked about getting to know the guys better, possibly for late in the draft or even summer league. With the NBA Draft lottery to be held on Tuesday night, the Jazz will look to bring in underclassmen and more touted prospects when they find out where they will officially pick.