HANSEN

Greg Hansen: Jerrett would be one-and- done-for

2013-04-17T00:00:00Z 2013-04-17T21:35:52Z Greg Hansen: Jerrett would be one-and- done-forGreg Hansen Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
April 17, 2013 12:00 am  • 

As the clock ticked from 28 to 27 to 26, a three-point shot by UCLA's Jordan Adams bounced off the rim. Game tied at 64.

Lost in a tangle of bodies, two bad things happened to Arizona in the Pac-12 semifinals: Freshman Grant Jerrett was unable to maintain rebound position and, subsequently, block what would be the game-winning layup by Kyle Anderson.

The ball bounced to Anderson, who scored unimpeded. UCLA won 66-64.

A few days later, before the Arizona-Belmont NCAA tournament game, UA assistant coach James Whitford told me that Jerrett had difficulty matching up with 22-year-old Travis Wear, a 6-10, 240-pound, fourth-year junior.

"Grant's still not strong enough inside. He's so thin, he still gets pushed around," said Whitford, careful not to criticize Jerrett's UCLA performance, but to explain how important strength and experience are in college basketball. "It's going to take another whole year for him"

Earlier in the UCLA game, Jerrett grabbed a defensive rebound and was jostled by Wear. Jerrett teetered and fell out of bounds. And Wear is no one's idea of a beast on the blocks.

"If Grant could add 10 to 15 pounds of muscle and be able to maintain it, he'd be a different player," said Whitford. "He was isolated on Wear a lot during the UCLA game, but he couldn't take the midline and hold it. On the final play, Wear put a forearm in Grant's back and shoved him forward, out of the play. Had he been able to hold his ground it would've been 50-50 he blocked Anderson's layup."

Grant Jerrett is a wonderful NBA prospect with killer shooting range and touch - he has a 7-foot-6 wingspan - but he is 19 years old, built like a stork and averaged just 5.2 points in his lone Arizona season.

Once Arizona successfully recruited Aaron Gordon, the most predictable reaction was that Jerrett would worry about losing minutes in 2013-14. But never did I consider Jerrett would be tempted to bolt, leave school and hope an NBA team would draft him in June.

He averaged only 17 minutes a game.

Until now, 11 Pac-12 players have left school, one-and-done. All but USC forward Davon Jefferson were drafted and played in the NBA. That's a success rate of 91 percent.

Jerrett would almost certainly become the second undrafted Pac-12 player if he indeed chooses to be one-and-done. Say it ain't so.

As Sean Miller said during Derrick Williams decision to leave school after two seasons, "It's not one-and-done or two-and-done, it's one-and-ready."

Jerrett is one-and-not-ready.

"Of the Arizona players Lute Olson recruited and left school after 1988, 33 of them were drafted by the NBA," Whitford said. "How many were one-and-done? One, Jerryd Bayless. That's 32 out of 33 who stayed."

The former Pac-12 player who most closely matches Jerrett in style and in frame is Ryan Anderson of the Cal Bears. As a freshman in 2006-07, the 6-10, 230-pound Anderson averaged 16.3 points and 8.2 rebounds. He was outstanding.

But even with those numbers, Anderson returned for his sophomore season, leading the league in scoring (21.1) and becoming the 21st overall NBA draft pick. Anderson and Jerrett have such similar games, long arms and a killer shooting touch, but it still took Anderson three years to establish himself in the NBA - he was twice traded - scoring, in order, 7.4, 7.7 and 10.6 points before breaking out in his fourth season.

He is now averaging 16.2 points for the New Orleans Hornets, working on the first year of a $34 million contract.

Other than USC's Jefferson, now playing in Russia, the only other Pac-12 one-and-done player to make a premature decision to leave school was Cal's Jamal Sampson, also a 6-10 power forward. He left Berkeley after averaging just 6.4 points and 24 minutes in 2002.

Sampson spent parts of five seasons in the NBA, waived four times, traded three times, scoring a mere 142 points. He has since played in China, the Philippines and the NBA D-League.

Jerrett compares more to Jefferson and Sampson than he does to other Pac-12 one-and-done types such as DeMar DeRozan of USC and Spencer Hawes of Washington.

Twenty-two years ago, after averaging 11.9 points for Arizona's Pac-10 championship team, power forward/center Sean Rooks held a press conference to announce he would return to Arizona for a fifth season. (He initially redshirted.)

Rooks explained that his uncle and grandmother pleaded for him to stay in school and improve his draft status.

"I wouldn't like to call home some day and hear them say 'I told you so,'" Rooks said that day.

Rooks averaged 16.3 points as a senior and went on to play 12 NBA seasons, earning almost $20 million. He is now on the Phoenix Suns personnel development staff.

You only hope Grant Jerrett will be able to say something similar in 22 years.

Contact columnist Greg Hansen at ghansen@azstarnet.com or 573-4362. On Twitter @ghansen711

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


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