O'Connor pleased with workout

Published June 6, 2010 6:41 pm
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Judging from the number of players sprawled out on the court in the aftermath, Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor was accurate in describing Sunday's draft workout as one of the most intense he'd seen.

"I think the competitiveness among this group was impressive," O'Connor said. The Jazz hosted five expected first-round picks, with O'Connor describing them as being in a "cluster" on the team's draft board.

In addition to Butler forward Gordon Hayward , Wake Forest forward Al-Farouq Aminu , Kansas guard Xavier Henry , Nevada forward Luke Babbitt , Texas forward Damion James and Rider guard Ryan Thompson took part.

A projected top-10 pick (or higher), Aminu is regarded as an off-the-charts athlete with a 7-foot-4 wingspan who by his own admission needs to work on his shooting and ball-handling to play small forward in the NBA.

Henry left Kansas after just one season, but O'Connor described the 19-year-old as being "a little different" than most one-and-done prospects after playing alongside the likes of Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich at Kansas.

At 6-foot-7, 210 pounds, Henry is more developed physically than C.J. Miles was at a similar age, O'Connor added, and Henry also benefited from having two parents who played in college at Kansas.

"When I was doing things on the court, they wouldn't just let me go out there and just shoot around and just B.S. around out there," Henry said. "They'd be out there teaching me the right things to do and making sure I got better."

Henry said he thought he would be able to contribute as a rookie thanks to his work ethic and attitude. "If I can't, I'm just going to keep working harder until I can," added Henry, who averaged 13.4 points last season.

Babbitt, meanwhile, tried to answer questions about his defensive ability "because that's what this team is built on and that's why they've been successful." Babbitt averaged 21.9 points last season and is regarded as a scorer and shooter.

Having grown up in Reno, Nev., Babbitt is familiar with the Jazz, saying, "They're a really good team. They've got a great point guard that they've obviously built their team around and I'm sure they're just looking to keep adding pieces around him."

Thompson, the brother of Sacramento forward Jason Thompson , scored 37 points in one game at the Portsmouth (Va.) Invitational Tournament in April and was named to the all-tournament team.

"I just went in there with a chip on my shoulder and just tried to show everybody I could play at the next level," said Thompson, who could be a second-round selection. San Antonio already has worked out Thompson twice.


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