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Utah basketball: David Collette hopes NBA feedback helps prepare for senior year with Utes

First Published      Last Updated May 23 2017 05:59 pm


Utah basketball » Forward averaged 13.6 points for the Utes last season.

The most telling detail about David Collette's immediate basketball future was when he arrived for his Utah Jazz workout Tuesday morning — after he had finished taking a test.

Yes, the 24-year-old forward still technically was entered into the NBA Draft at the start of this week, but in name only. Since his surprise entry last month, Collette has maintained all along that he's returning to the Runnin' Utes for his senior year.

After Collette's only NBA workout Tuesday, his former teammate Kyle Kuzma felt that senior year could be promising.

"It was great to get back on the floor with him," Kuzma said about Collette "He improved a lot. He was shooting the ball pretty well today, and I was kinda surprised at that, stretching out the 3 a little bit."




That idea — Collette finding his form from long range — runs counter to the game Utah State and Utah fans have become familiar with. Collette manned the middle of the paint this past season, scoring almost exclusively five feet and in with great results. His 13.6 points and 59.9 shooting percentage lead all returners for the Utes, and it's a sure thing that his reliable low-post offense will continue to be a tenet of Utah's attack.

And yet the oldest player on the roster next year also sees the need to evolve. With Kuzma now committed to staying in the draft and a number of others departing, Collette knows he needs to take a step forward as Utah seeks to improve on last season's 20-12 campaign.

"I think the biggest thing is expanding my game," Collette said. "That's the way the game is moving now, with bigs who can stretch the floor and who can guard multiple positions as well. I've been working a ton on my lateral quickness and done a lot of work on extending my range."

One of the coaching staff's biggest points for next season is strength, and Collette said he's already added weight to help him knock elbows with the Pac-12 next season. He'll likely be called upon more to rebound as well to help replace production there.

Collette said he's worked on his shooting for a few years but rarely strayed from the paint last season to not rock the boat after becoming eligible midway through the year. His ability to convert in the low post at a high rate was a skill no one else on the team had. It only made sense for him to lean on that identity.

"I didn't want to throw off the groove of the team coming in midseason," he said. "But [Sedrick Barefield] and I have talked about things a lot. We've been in the program a long time now. It's going to be our time."

Collette entered into the draft hoping for some NBA feedback, which he said he's gotten: more shooting, more defense, better athleticism — not much he didn't know. Collette is comfortable with the idea that next year the NBA may not be realistic for him after his college days are done.

He hopes to take the feedback into his senior season, which Utah Jazz director of player personnel Walt Perrin said is ideally how most players returning to school handle the workout experience.

"It gives them input in terms of what NBA guys think they need to work on," he said. "Hopefully it won't only help them but only help the team."

kgoon@sltrib.com Twitter: @kylegoon

 

AT A GLANCE

A closer look

David Collette

Height » 6-foot-8

Year » Senior

Age » 24

Hometown » Murray 2016-17 season

Pts Reb Ast

Utah 13.6 5.1 1.0

2014-15 season

Pts Reb Ast

Utah St. 12.8 5.0 1.2


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