Cody Williams says getting drafted by Jazz was 'best feeling in the world'

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SALT LAKE CITY — Cody Williams didn't want to know where he was going beforehand.

"I kind of told my agent to keep it a secret from me," Williams said. "I just wanted to be surprised."

As for the Jazz, they were simply surprised he was still on the board when their turn to pick came around. Danny Ainge and Co, though, made sure he didn't last any longer.

Utah selected Williams with the 10th pick in the 2024 NBA draft — picking their wing of the future and ending some anxious nerves from the former Colorado small forward.

"There was a little bit of nervousness, a lot of adrenaline, a little bit of anxiety going into this," he said. "Hearing my name called, all that went away — felt more relieved than anything."

He called it the "best feeling in the world," and it being the Jazz only heightened that feeling.

"Me and my agent talked about how it would be a great situation, a great scenario. ... I feel relieved that I landed here and excited to get down to Salt Lake City," he said.

At 6-foot-7 with a 7-foot-1 wingspan, Williams projects to be a switchable defensive wing; he has some offensive juice, as well. He shot well from 3-point range (albeit on low volume) at Colorado and can drive the ball some, too.

And it doesn't hurt to have had a brother — Oklahoma City's Jalen Williams — go through the same thing just a couple years back. Williams was a late lottery pick in 2022, but he was the second-best player on a team that had the best record in the Western Conference last season.

Like brother like brother? The Jazz sure hope so.

"I feel like just taking those aspects of his game and his mentality, how he approached every workout, every rep, every charity event, every media coverage, I feel like I can use that and take that with me and use it throughout my career," Williams said. "That's how I'm going to grow and develop."

And, yes, he's eager to match up against his brother.

"It's something we dreamed about," he said. "As kids, obviously we never really got to play against or with each other on the same team just because of the age difference. So I think being able to do that now is definitely a dream come true. I'm going to make sure I'm matched up on him when we're playing them. Make sure to tell Will (Hardy), put me on Jalen. That's the game plan."

Utah general manager Justin Zanik said that relationship will only help Williams as he starts out his NBA career. There will be someone in his ear letting him know just what he needs to do to find success.

"I think is a great example for him," Zanik said. "They're going to be different. They're not the exact same player at all, but just being able to be around that can continue to inspire and grow Cody's passion for the game."

Cody Williams is taller and skinnier than his brother and will need to bulk up and add strength to his body. But the same can be said for pretty much every draft pick on Wednesday. Williams is well aware of what he needs to do, too.

"The biggest thing is getting my body in shape and ready," he said.

Williams isn't the most dynamic athlete — which limits his upside some — and will need to be willing to take more shots in the NBA, but he projects to have a decently high floor with plenty of upside.

He averaged 11.9 points while shooting 55.2% from the field while making the Pac-12 All-Freshman team. Williams shot 41.5% from 3-point range but attempted just 41 of his 194 shots from beyond the arc.

The Jazz chose him over other wings like Dalton Knecht and Matas Buzelis.

"I love that he's a true wing with NBA speed and talent and skill," Zanik said. "He's got a spirit and some experience because he went through this with his brother and sees what it's like and he loves basketball. It's a basketball family. I'm really excited for him to be part of our program, and we're really happy to continue to help him grow."

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