Jazz Notes: O'Connor, Jazz eyeing prep phenom, again

Published June 18, 2005 1:39 am
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2005, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Jazz have drafted one high school player in their history.

Could Martell Webster be No. 2?

Jazz officials watched Webster work out Friday at the team's practice facility, and they came away impressed with the 6-foot-7 swingman from Seattle Prep in Washington.

"He is a wonderful talent," Jazz vice president of basketball operations Kevin O'Connor said. "You watch him shoot the ball - how easy it is, how fluid he is - and you see that basketball comes easy to him. He doesn't know it all yet. But it comes easy."

"I'm always amazed at the composure these kids show," coach Jerry Sloan said.

DeShawn Stevenson is the one and only high school player ever drafted by the Jazz. He was taken with the 23rd pick in 2000.

Webster won't last until the 23rd pick of this draft.

He is a certain lottery pick and could go anywhere from No. 5 to No. 12. The Jazz have the sixth pick.

Webster averaged 27.7 points and 10 rebounds as a high school senior. He missed most of his junior year because of a chipped bone and damaged tendons in his foot.

Webster had 16 points and six rebounds in the McDonald's All-American Game. He finished with 21 points on 9-for-14 shooting as the USA Select Team defeated the World Select team in the Nike Hoop Summit, 106-98.

Asked about his workout with the Jazz, Webster said, "It was competitive. I didn't shoot the ball as well as I hoped I would. But that happens in the game of basketball."

The other three players who participated in the workout with Webster were Ronnie Price of Utah Valley State, Omar Thomas of UTEP and Dijon Thompson of UCLA.

More on Lopez

The Jazz are involved in "serious discussions" with agent Marc Cornstein about the future of injury-plagued point guard Raul Lopez, according to O'Connor.

A Spanish newspaper reported this week that Lopez was "close" to signing a four-year contract with a team in his homeland.

Lopez has one year left on his contract with the Jazz, however, so any signing in Spain would be preceded by some type of buyout.

Lopez is due to make $1.75 million with the Jazz next season.

"We're in discussions with him to see what he wants to do," said O'Connor, who noted the Jazz could benefit from Lopez's departure because it would " clear a salary slot and a slot on the roster."

O'Connor said a final decision on Lopez's future will come by July 1, when a threatened lockout by the owners could start.

Lopez has endured four knee surgeries since 2001.

Sloan said he had "no qualms" about Lopez getting out of his contract with the Jazz and playing in Spain because "I have never seen a guy work as hard" to overcome so many injuries and play in the NBA.

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