Shabazz pays Jazz a quick visit

Jun 17 2013 - 11:49pm

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SALT LAKE CITY --Shabazz Muhammad showed up for a predraft workout for the Utah Jazz on Monday, but he never broke a sweat. The former UCLA shooting guard was sidelined with a left ankle injury and wore a walking boot while 10 other candidates went through drills at the Zions Bank Basketball Center.

"Some guys are hurt and just cancel (the workout)," Muhammad said. "I just wanted to come here and show my face and meet the coaching staff, even though I got to meet with them briefly (during last month's combine) in Chicago."

Muhammad, 20, has entered the NBA draft after one season at UCLA, where he averaged 17.9 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. Once considered to be a potential No. 1 overall pick coming out Las Vegas' Bishop Gorman High School, his draft stock has taken a hit thanks in part to some off-the-court issues at UCLA.

Muhammad was suspended for three-games after an NCAA investigation. He was also revealed to be a year older than first believed coming out of high school.

Still, Muhammad is expected to be a first-round selection in the June 27 draft.

Analysts have him slotted anywhere from the top 10 to the 12-17 range.

"I think I'm a top 10 guy, you'll see," he said. "It just takes one team to like you and, right now, I think I'm a top 10 guy. We'll see what the outcome is."

Muhammad said his left ankle was sore and swollen after a recent workout for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Jazz's interest in the 6-foot-6 shooting guard isn't clear. With the Nos. 14 and 21 picks in the first round, they've been looking at a wide range of players, more than 50 in all.

Their biggest need is point guard, however, with seven possible free agents on the roster, Jazz executives are looking to fill a number of positions. In addition, with Muhammad's sheer talent, they want to have an evaluation in place on the chance he is still available when their first pick comes around.

"I think I can step in here and have a really good scoring impact right from the jump," he said. "This is a great facility and I would enjoy playing here."

Since June 14, the Jazz have taken a closer look at 30 players, with eight more scheduled for today.

Six players, including former University of Utah guard Will Clyburn, were on hand Sunday morning. A dozen more, including former Layton Christian guard P.J. Porter -- more recently from Azusa Pacific University -- came through on Monday.

Porter is expected to again be on hand today to go through drills with Syracuse point guard Michael Carter-Williams.

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson will lead a group of six in a second session later in the day.

The Jazz also evaluated 6-11 Duke center Mason Plumlee, projected to be a mid-to-late first-round pick, on Monday.

Plumlee, 23, averaged 17.1 points, 9.9 rebounds and 1.4 blocked shots per game for the Blue Devils. He said having former Jazz coach Jerry Sloan on hand for Monday's workout was particularly exciting.

"It was neat, I wanted to meet him because the first games I remember watching were the (1997 and '98 NBA Finals) with the Bulls," he said. "I was 5 or 6 then. It was neat to meet him, for sure."

Sloan has been helping the Jazz as a consultant during the predraft season.

Brazilian center Lucas Nogueira was on hand Monday but, like Muhammad, sat out the on-court activities due to an injury.

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