Tyler Rawson often thinks about the process that got him to this point.
It wasn’t that long ago that he was a skinny kid at American Fork High, playing with the likes of Marcel Davis and Austin Waddoups.
Following an intense workout with the Utah Jazz on Tuesday morning, Rawson has now come full circle.
A pro career after a few standout seasons at the University of Utah is within reach. And, although the NBA probably won’t call for him next season, Rawson has the skill-set NBA teams look for. Everyone needs a shooter with size in today’s league. Rawson at 6-foot-10 is definitely a big man and a shooter.
“My first year at Southern Utah wasn’t a good one, but the expectations weren’t there,” Rawson said. “Coach [Todd] Phillips at SLCC gave me a chance to prove myself, and we won a national title. So, playing at SLCC was a lot of fun. The Utah coaches all believed in me, and they gave me a chance to grow my game. So, it’s been a fun process, and I’m eager to see what I can do at the next level.”
In a workout where five of the six participants were local, Jazz brass came away impressed at Rawson’s height for a power forward and his ability to shoot the basketball. Also, Rawson displayed the passing ability that he became known for when he played for the Utes.
He has things he needs to work on, if he wants to make it to the league. He has gotten stronger over the years, but still needs to add about 15 pounds. He has got to continue to get lighter on his feet defensively as well.
But, Rawson has a base from which to work from, even if he probably has to hit the G-League circuit or go overseas to start his professional career. On Tuesday, Rawson couldn’t stop smiling. For him, it was a surreal moment, working out for the Jazz, a team he had grown up rooting for.
But, he also knew he belonged. He was one of Utah’s best players last season, averaging 11 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. He was one of the Pac-12’s more versatile big men, capable of doing damage from the perimeter or close to the basket.
“It’s been my dream to play for the Jazz,” Rawson said. “I grew up watching them, coming up in Utah. So, this has been exciting.”
Tuesday’s workout featured intriguing options for Utah. Ute guard Sedrick Barefield was the best player at the workout, but he has informed the University of Utah coaching staff that he intends to return to school, according to Tribune sources.
Utah Valley University guard Kenneth Ogbe was on hand for a second workout with the Jazz. He impressed with his strength, and his ability to get to the basket off the dribble. He also did 18 reps on the bench press, which shows how far he’s come along physically since first matriculating to Utah from Germany.
Former Kearns High star Dayon Goodman was also in the gym. He averaged 27.7 points per game this past season with Westminster College. And Weber State shooting guard Ryan Richardson was in the workout as well.
“I thought it was a good workout and there was a lot of talent in the gym,” Jazz VP of Player Personnel Walt Perrin said. “All of these guys have a chance to play somewhere. Will it be in the NBA? Probably not, at least not next year. But, they may have a chance a few years down the road, depending on how they develop.”
JAZZ WORKOUT PARTICIPANTS
• Sedrick Barefield, 6-2 guard, Utah
• Kameron Chatman, 6-9 forward, University of Detroit
• Kenneth Ogbe, 6-7 shooting guard, Utah Valley University
• Tyler Rawson, 6-10 power forward, Utah
• Ryan Richardson, 6-4 shooting guard, Weber State
• Dayon Goodman, 6-8 small forward, Westminster College