Utah's Donnie Tillman gets chance to workout in front of Jazz

Utah's Donnie Tillman gets chance to workout in front of Jazz

(Laura Seitz, KSL)

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SALT LAKE CITY — When University of Utah forward Donnie Tillman put his name in the NBA Draft last month, it was for days like Friday.

Tillman was in the Zion’s Bank Basketball Center wearing a jersey with the Jazz logo and playing in front of NBA executives.

So what did the Jazz see on Friday from Tillman?

“What I saw out there was a player that’s got a nice strong body and knows how to use it going to the basket,” Jazz vice president of player personnel Walt Perrin said.

That was the good.

The bad?

“He needs to probably learn how to finish a little better,” Perrin said. “His shot was a little bit inconsistent, he needs to work on that to go further in his profession.”

It’s that type of feedback that Tillman — who wasn’t made available to the media — is looking for. It’s easier than ever for underclassmen to go through the pre-draft process. The deadline has been pushed back and the rules lightened, giving the players more and more chances to be evaluated by NBA teams.

“It’s important for them more than for us,” Perrin said of having local prospects in.

Tillman is expected to return to Utah for his junior season, but by going through draft workouts and talking to executives, he should be a better player. And he was already a pretty good one for the Utes.

Tillman was named the Pac-12 Sixth Man of the Year after averaging 10.5 points and 5.3 rebounds as a sophomore. He shot 43 percent from the field and 36 percent from the 3-point line.

“We will give advice when we sit down and talk to them on the interview process in terms of what they need to work on, what they do well,” Perrin said.

And Perrin had some words for him during the workout, too.

“I had to get on him a couple of times because his shoestring came loose,” Perrin said. “I had to say that he played here so he should be used to the altitude instead of trying to take breaks.”

Other workout notes

Earlier this week, Syracuse forward Oshae Brissett announced that he intended to keep his name in the draft. Brissett averaged 12.4 points and 7.5 rebounds during his sophomore season — a season that wasn’t all the impressive to Perrin and the Jazz. But what they’ve seen from him at the combine and again on Friday sounds like they might have interest in the wing.

“He showed some nice things, nice signs,” Perrin said. “Being able to put the ball on the floor, a quick pull up. He had a fairly bad year at Syracuse. And he’s played extremely well, I thought. He played well at the combine. Shot it extremely well at his pro day yesterday and shot it pretty well here. I know he can shoot it better than he showed here today but I think he was a little bit tired down the stretch.

Gonzaga guard Zach Norvell Jr. averaged 14. 9 points and 4.3 rebounds during his sophomore season. He is seen as a second-round prospect.

“Zach shot it extremely well — which we knew he could do,” Perrin said. “On a 3-on-3 situation, he has to put the ball on the floor more so than he did at Gonzaga, so we were able to see how well he could handle the ball.”

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