Arizona Basketball

ESPN’s Chad Ford: Grant Jerrett a second-round pick

Grant Jerrett is working out with power forward prospects at the NBA draft combine in Chicago

Grant Jerrett is working out with power forward prospects at the NBA draft combine in Chicago

During this morning’s NBA draft combine broadcast on ESPNU, draft expert Chad Ford was optimistic of former Arizona forward Grant Jerrett’s prospects of being selected in the draft next month.

Jerrett, who left the Wildcats after his freshman season, worked out with power forward prospects, including former Colorado player Andre Roberson, in the combine at Chicago. The combine is today and tomorrow and consists of 60 invitees. Jerrett and former UA small forward Solomon Hill are two of the participants.

“Somebody will get (Jerrett) in the 30’s or 40’s (selections of the second round),” Ford said during the telecast.

The NBA draft consists of 60 picks overall. If Jerrett is drafted in the 30’s or 40’s, it will be because of his untapped potential. He averaged only 17.8 minutes and 5.2 points a game this season. He became the tallest player to lead the Wildcats in three-point shooting in a season at 40.5 percent (32 of 79).

“Out of high school, he was ranked as a top 10 player,” Ford said. “He has the ability at his size (6-foot-10, 220 pounds) to stretch defenses. One thing he did well at Arizona is shoot 40 percent from the field. He is going to try to sell himself here.”

Ford said Jerrett is in the mode of former Cal forward Ryan Anderson, a 6-10, 240-pound power forward who averaged 16.2 points a game and made 38.2 percent of his three-point attempts this season for New Orleans.

“(Jerrett) can get out there and shoot threes and get in corners,” Ford said. “He just did not get a lot of playing opportunities at Arizona.”

ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla, also commenting on the NBA draft combine in Chicago, said he discussed Jerrett’s early departure with Arizona’s coaching staff.

Grant Jerrett's decision to leave Arizona early because of his NBA aspirations was criticized by ESPN announcers Thursday

Grant Jerrett’s decision to leave Arizona early because of his NBA aspirations was criticized by ESPN announcers Thursday (YouTube video)

“They were really hurt that he left,” Fraschilla said. “Their frontcourt is loaded. They have (high-profile recruit) Aaron Gordon coming in. Chad is right on money: Their staff loved Jerrett’s abililty to shoot the ball.

“He is comparable to another Arizona player named Channing Frye. Jerrett is a perfect guy to be picked in the second round, in the 30’s and 40’s. NBA scouts know this guy will be a development guy. He didn’t get playing time at Arizona to impress people.”

Fraschilla said Jerrett has a chance to go back and forth to the NBA Developmental League or play overseas.

Fellow ESPN analyst Jay Williams said Jerrett overreacted to Gordon joining the Wildcats. Jerrett was a McDonald’s American in 2012. Gordon and fellow UA recruit Rondae Hollis-Jefferson were McDonald’s All-Americans this year.

“Aaron Gordon has off-the-chart potential,” Williams said. “These guys who are McDonald’s All-Americans see the next tier coming in and think, ‘Maybe I have to leave now.’

“Just because this may be a weak draft you can’t think that going into it is the right thing to do. (Jerrett) can be lost in the shuffle.”

The ESPN analysts compared Jerrett’s move to that of former Kentucky guard Archie Goodwin, who left John Calipari’s program for a chance at the NBA because of Calipari’s No. 1 recruiting class.

“Thinking that you won’t get minutes in college, so you try to leave to the NBA, that’s problematic to me,” Ford said with a laugh.

Fraschilla summed it up this way: “It’s a case of the devil you don’t know is better than the devil you know.”

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