La Verne Lutheran alum makes puzzling decision to turn pro
APR 26, 2013 12:06a ET
It’s the golden rule as it pertains to the NBA Draft: Don’t enter early unless you’re certain to be a lottery pick.
"I would never recommend a player to leave school early unless he was a top 10 (pick)," said one Western Conference scout, speaking in general terms.
Those close to Arizona’s Jerrett, who averaged averaged 5.2 points and 3.6 rebounds during his lone season, had a similar speech for him, but he’d already made up his mind -- his days in college were over.
“The first advice (to him) was to go back to school,” said Eric Cooper Sr., who coached Jerrett in high school at La Verne Lutheran.
Jerrett could not be reached for comment for this story.
Cooper Sr. said all he and Jerrett’s family can do now is be a support system as Jerrett attempts to reach his NBA goals.
The 6-foot-10 power forward won a CIF championship and two state titles playing for Cooper Sr. He was a McDonald’s All-American as a senior, ending a two-year drought for California players being selected to the game.
At Arizona, he came off the bench and averaged 17.8 minutes per game, primarily as a spot-up shooter despite all skills he showed around the basket during his high school career. Jerrett was a 40.5 percent 3-point shooter last season.
Back to the "why?"
He’s considered to be an NBA prospect, but there are many that don't believe that time is now, which has made his decision to turn pro all the more puzzling. Like so many players who grow up playing the game, it was always Jerrett’s wish to make it to the NBA. He feels like now is as good a time as any.
According to Cooper Sr., Jerrett has received draft evaluations which came back with both first and second round grades. However, it doesn’t appear a lottery grade was in that mix.
His pre-draft workouts are going to be huge for him to have any hopes of trying to raise his stock. A number of recent mock drafts have the La Verne Lutheran alum going undrafted.
“(NBA scouts) all think of him as just a shooter right now but he’s spent his whole career playing in the post,” Cooper Sr. said. “(He’s a) great low post player, left hand, right hand. He’s ambidextrous. He can do everything with either hand on either side. Once they recognize that he can do more than just shoot, I think they’ll be utterly surprised.”
Multiple sources have shared that sentiment. Jerrett didn't get to show much of his game at all last season. His strength is with his back to the basket, which he didn't get much of an opportunity to do in Tucson.
According to those same sources, once Jerrett shows off those capabilities in pre-draft workouts, it will propel him into the first round.
"Grant’s a lot more ready than people think," a league source said.
Despite his role as a jump shooter last season, Cooper Sr. insists Jerrett and Arizona coach Sean Miller had a “great” relationship and there was nothing in Tucson that prompted him to make the decision other than Tucson itself.
“His dream was to go (to the NBA) and didn’t want to spend any more time in college developing,” Cooper Sr. said. “He wanted to let the NBA develop him.
“He just wants to do what he feels like God is leading him to do. He prayed about things. He knows what he wants to do and he does it. He’s a good kid."
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