UA HOOPS

Arizona basketball: Jerrett OK with OKC

Ex-Wildcat's shot, combined with size, impressed Thunder
2013-06-30T00:00:00Z 2014-08-01T11:38:46Z Arizona basketball: Jerrett OK with OKCBruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
June 30, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Maybe Grant Jerrett would have developed into a lottery pick if he stayed with the Arizona Wildcats for more than one season. Maybe not.

But after checking out his new NBA home Saturday, Jerrett wasn't about to complain.

Taken No. 40 overall in Thursday's NBA draft, Jerrett was introduced to Oklahoma City media, staffers and supporters on Saturday and spoke excitedly about his new job.

"I'm blessed," Jerrett said during a news conference, according to video posted by NewsOK.com. "It's always been a dream to play in the NBA, and to play in an organization like this is hard to put into words.

"Just seeing what this team does not only on the court but also off the court - how involved they are in the community, just being good people - it seems like a good fit for myself just to come in and do what I can to make this organization better."

As a second-round pick, Jerrett is not assured of a guaranteed contract or a spot on the Thunder roster, but high second-round picks sometimes do sign guaranteed deals. The fact that he went No. 40, being sold from Portland to Oklahoma City, indicates the Thunder might give him a long look or place him in the NBA Development League.

Oklahoma City GM Sam Presti said at a news conference that Jerrett caught the Thunder's eyes during an Arizona practice early last season.

"He has the ability to shoot the ball for his size, and he also has an uncanny awareness on the floor for a frontcourt player," Presti said.

Jerrett started the first two games of the season, and wound up averaging 17.8 minutes a game while shooting 40.5 percent from three-point territory.

Even though Jerrett came off the bench most of the season, Thunder assistant GM Troy Weaver said he still saw a "tremendous shooting ability" for a big man.

Arizona "had a young frontcourt, a lot of different guys," Weaver said. "Guys were in and out so he didn't really have a chance to showcase his ability.

"This is a guy we felt that obviously his best basketball is ahead of him. He's a guy that we felt can grow in our program. He has tremendous tools - length, shooting ability. He has a knack for the ball. He comes up with balls, he can block a shot, he's not scared to mix it up inside. He's a young guy. We feel like he has some tools to work with and long term he can be a player."

Jerrett said it will be an "honor" to play with Kevin Durant and the Thunder's other players, and said he appreciates the atmosphere around the team.

"It's great," Jerrett said at Saturday's news conference, according to the Oklahoman. "I feel like I'm back at the U of A. This place has the feel of a college town. The community support here is just unreal. They've done so well on and off the court. I saw the (practice) facility - unreal."

Efforts to reach Jerrett through the Thunder were unsuccessful.

Rim shots

• Dino Pergola, the agent for former Wildcat MoMo Jones, told the Journal News of Westchester, N.Y., that a free agent deal with the Celtics fell apart.

"We're still trying to figure things out," Pergola said. "Nothing is definite with Boston. We're still talking to a few teams."

• Incoming UA freshman Aaron Gordon had 10 points, two rebounds and two assists while USA Basketball's U19 team coasted to a third straight lopsided win in the U19 world championships, 115-47 over Russia. Gordon averaged 13.7 points and 6.0 rebounds in USA's 3-0 run through the first round. USA will open the second round on Monday against Brazil.

On StarNet: View photos of Grant Jerrett during his brief Arizona career at azstarnet.com/gallery

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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