Travis Bader can shoot.
Everybody knows that.
The 22-year-old Oakland University guard made history this year, breaking former Duke star J.J. Redick's NCAA record for 3-pointers made in a career, finishing with 504 makes on 1,246 attempts.
So on Thursday, as he worked out for the Utah Jazz, Bader wanted to prove himself in other ways.
"I'm not quite as strong," the 6-foot-5, 191-pound shooting guard said. "But they want to see that I can play defense against quicker guys, against bigger guys, just different switches. … Show a little bit off the dribble. Not a bunch of crossovers and stuff, but maybe a shot fake or two. Two-dribble pull-up. One-dribble pull-up. And just really knock down shots."
Bader's father worked in the Michigan State athletics department, as the director of basketball operations under Tom Izzo and later as the assistant AD. But after finishing high school, Bader's lone Division I scholarship offer was from Oakland in Rochester, Mich.
So even after establishing himself as one of the country's best shooters — and graduating in three years, making him eligible to play for another school right away — Bader never wanted to transfer.
"I knew it was an option," he said. "But Oakland's been my home. … A lot of schools didn't offer me. A lot of people saw me as a preferred walk-on. Oakland was the one who believed in me, had that confidence. I just wanted to stay loyal to them. Show I had their back like they had mine."
Bader played 137 games for the Golden Grizzlies, tying the school's all-time record. In four years, he never shot worse than 38.6 percent from 3 in a season.
The sharp-shooting Bader was one of six players the Jazz worked out Thursday.
The Jazz also got first-hand looks at a pair of defensive specialists in Stanford's Josh Huestis and Seton Hall's Fuquan Edwin, the Big East's reigning Defensive Player of the Year. Cal guard Justin Cobbs, Memphis guard Joe Jackson, a former McDonald's All-American, and Oklahoma forward Cameron Clark also attended.
It was a "more athletic" group than the six players the Jazz saw Wednesday.
"We've got some guys in this group who have an opportunity to play at the next level," said Jazz VP of Player Personnel Walt Perrin. "Maybe not the NBA. Maybe so. Who knows? Maybe in a could years. But pretty good players."
Of the six, DraftExpress ranks Huestis (No. 54) and Edwin (No. 69) among the Top 100 prospects in this year's draft class.
The Jazz will evaluate nearly 100 players over the next six weeks.
But the individual workouts — most likely — won't change many minds.
"Does it change our idea of who they are as players? … Most times, not really because we see a lot of them live or on tape," Perrin said. "This just enhances what we know."
For Edwin, the New Jersey native, this was his first trip to Utah.
So before heading west, he got a bit of advice from a friend.
"He told me I won't be able to breathe as well," Edwin said.
Altitude has been mentioned by nearly every prospect in the first two days of workouts.
But reflecting back on past workouts, Perrin said it was a player who trained at sea level that most impressed him with his fitness over the years.
"The one guy we had who was going as hard as he was at the beginning and wasn't breathing hard was [Warriors forward] David Lee," Perrin said.
— Aaron Falk
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