Bobby Lewis, News on 6
TULSA, Oklahoma – Things could be changing quite a bit this week for Justin Hurtt. After four years of sweating, shooting and leading on the floor, the former University of Tulsa basketball star has a very real shot at being taken in Thursday's NBA Draft.
"I've been dreaming of wanting to play in the NBA for a long time," Hurtt said in a phone interview this week from Tampa. "To have the opportunity to work out with different teams … it's been the best part for me."
Seven different teams have invited Hurtt to take part in pre-draft skills evaluations so far. Among the franchises keeping an eye on the 6-foot-4 lefty are the Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings.
During his workout with the Kings, Hurtt was asked to guard Kemba Walker, a speedy guard from Connecticut with first round grades from most teams around the league. Hurtt said he did well against the All-American and has gotten positive feedback from most of his workouts.
"(They say) I have a chance of even getting drafted and I could be a player that could play in the league for a few years," said Hurtt.
Tulsa has turned out three pro prospects in the past two seasons. Jerome Jordan was drafted in the second round and wound up with the New York Knicks after a trade. He spent 2010-11 overseas. Ben Uzoh went undrafted, but signed with the New Jersey Nets as a free agent. He ended the year with the Denver Nuggets after a trade.
The relationships and experiences Hurtt had in college have prepared him for this week's draft.
"I learned a lot from (Uzoh) in my career," he said. "I talked to him about my workouts, just about the mindset, you know, and how I felt during the process.
Hurtt also credits TU head coach Doug Wojcik for helping him become a better leader on the court.
"He helped make me who I am today," he admitted.
Hurtt is projected as a second round pick by multiple draft publications. He said he wants to get drafted but understands if he isn't. He knows he still can make the NBA as a free agent like Uzoh did last season.
The NBA draft is Thursday night from New York City. It begins at 6 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN.