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Fredette, Walker work out for Utah Jazz
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Kemba Walker and Jimmer Fredette never made it onto the same court during their last year of college hoops. It finally happened behind closed doors at the Utah Jazz practice facility.
Walker and Fredette auditioned for Jazz coaches and team officials Wednesday in a workout ahead of the June 23 NBA draft.
Walker and Fredette are firmly on Utah’s draft radar. The Jazz pick at No. 3 and No. 12 and it’s expected that at least one of those picks will be used on a point guard to fill the void left when Utah traded Deron Williams to New Jersey last season.
Walker lifted Connecticut to an NCAA championship last season while Fredette led the nation in scoring at BYU with 28.9 points per game and swept nearly every national player of the year award.
Seeing both players on the same court was a dream for many college basketball fans. It never happened in college. Both players came away painting their workout together in glowing terms.
“It was great to be able to go against him,” Fredette said. “That’s what you want. You want to play against the best, at least I do. I want to go out there and compete against the best players.”
Jazz coaches put both players through the wringer. They tested their ability to run plays out of the pick and roll, evaluated their shooting and defensive skills and had them go through conditioning drills.
Walker walked away feeling like both he and Fredette did enough to leave a good impression.
“That’s what it’s all about,” Walker said. “We’re all here for jobs. It’s like interviews. We’re going to go hard and try to impress. I think we both did a great job at impressing these guys today.”
Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said Walker showed a ton of defensive quickness and good scoring ability.
He said he liked what Fredette showed in terms of athleticism and defensive commitment.
“They’re both competitors,” Corbin said. “You can’t argue against the success that either one of those kids has had. They had great college careers and their talent level and the work they demonstrated today show why.”
Fredette has sought to quiet critics who question his defensive skills. His focus during workouts with the Jazz and elsewhere has been to show teams he is not afraid to be aggressive on defense.
Utah is at the top of Fredette’s wish list. He feels like his skills are a perfect match for what the Jazz like to do.
“I just think it would be a great fit for me basketball-wise,” Fredette said. “I fit into the system. They need a guy who can stretch the floor, get into a lane, get other guys involved and that plays right into my strengths.”
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