The Jazz have resumed their pre-draft workouts following the NBA scouting combine with another six players who are in Salt Lake City to show the Utah brass what they could do. The most notable names of the bunch are Big 12 Player of the Year Melvin Ejim (Iowa State), SEC Player of the Year Scotty Wilbekin (Florida) and Niels Giffey from the National Champion Connecticut Huskies. Here is a look at how each player performed during their time in the NCAA and what each player’s strengths are.
Jerrelle Benimon, 6-8 forward, Towson: Benimon spent his first two seasons with the Georgetown Hoyas as nothing more than a bit player. It wasn’t until Benimon transferred to Towson that he provided significant production. He is a dominant rebounder, who can finish around the rim. When he gets the ball in the paint, Benimon is also skilled at drawing contact and is an improving free-throw shooter. His most productive season came as a senior when Benimon averaged 18.7 points on 52.9 percent shooting from the field, 11.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.2 blocks in 36 games.
For his career, Benimon averaged 10.1 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists and one block in 128 games.
Sam Dower Jr. 6-9 Center, Gonzaga: Dower spent his first three seasons in Spokane as the backup to Kelly Olynyk although he still saw a decent amount of minutes. It wasn’t until Olynyk was a rookie in the NBA that Dower earned a spot in the Bulldogs starting lineup. Dower has a soft touch around the basket and a good face up game out to 15 feet. While he doesn’t draw contact often, Dower is an impressive free-throw shooter. His most productive season came in his lone season as a starter when Dower averaged 14.4 points on 57.1 percent shooting from the floor, 7.2 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 34 games.
For his career, Dower averaged 9.3 points on 56.2 percent shooting as well as 4.2 rebounds in 18 minutes a night over 137 games.
Melvin Ejim, 6-6 forward, Iowa State: Ejim was a productive member of the Cyclones during all four of his years in Ames, Ia. Ejim was a solid wing scorer and a fantastic offensive rebounder in his first three seasons before stepping up his game thanks to more opportunities as a senior. With an ever developing outside game and more minutes, Ejim made a huge jump in his final year. In 2013-14, Ejim averaged 17.8 points on 50.5 percent shooting from the field, 8.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.2 steals in 34 games. Ejim had one of the most impressive games of the year in all of college basketball when he knocked down 20-of-24 shots from the field on his way to a career-high 48 points while collecting 18 rebounds in an 84-69 win over TCU.
For his career, Ejim averaged 12.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 steals in 135 games.
Niels Giffey, 6-7 guard-forward, UConn: even though Giffey spent four years playing for the Huskies, he wasn’t in the rotation until his junior year. Even when he finally earned minutes, Giffey didn’t produce on a high level. His biggest strength is his ability to spread the floor with his outside shot. His most productive season came in 2013-14 when Giffey averaged 8.4 points on 54 percent shooting including 48.3 percent from behind the arc.
For his career, Giffey averaged 4.6 points in only 3.3 attempts from the floor and 2.5 rebounds in 139 games.
Jake Odum, 6-4 guard, Indiana State: Odum played major minutes during all four seasons and has been a big part of the Sycamores success every step of the way. Odum is at his best on the offensive end of the floor when he is getting into the paint and creating scoring chances for himself and his teammates. Odum averaged nearly six free-throws a night in 134 career games including a Missouri Valley Conference leading 227 attempts as a junior. As good as Odum was at drawing contact, he may be even better as a facilitator. He finished no worse than third in the MVC in assists per game in all four of his seasons at Indiana State. His most productive season came as a junior in 2012-13 when Odum averaged a career-high 13.6 points on 47.6 percent shooting, 4.5 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.5 steals in 33 games.
For his career, Odum averaged 11.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.5 steals a game.
Scotty Wilbekin, 6-2 guard, Florida: like Benimon and Giffey, Wilbekin wasnt a major contributor until his junior season. He is a savvy defender who is good in the passing lanes as well as a deft passer. In fact, Wilbekin finished second in the SEC in assists during his junior year. Although he didn’t shoot a good percentage from the floor during his time at Florida (41.6) he did make 37.6 percent of his shots from beyond the arc. He had his most productive season in 2013-14 when he averaged a career-high 13.1 points on the strength of 39 percent shooting from 3-point range, 2.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.6 steals in 34 games.
For his career, Wilbekin averaged 6.7 points, 2.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.2 steal in 143 games.