Utah Jazz: 4 reasons to eye Duke basketball draft prospect Matthew Hurt

A potential Utah Jazz draft prospect in Duke basketball star Matthew Hurt (Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports)
A potential Utah Jazz draft prospect in Duke basketball star Matthew Hurt (Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports) /
2 of 4

Why the Utah Jazz might draft Matthew Hurt: Fits the mold

First, here’s how Gary Parrish perfectly summed up the draft outlook for Matthew Hurt this week:

"“Whether evaluators like Hurt or not comes down to what they focus on — the things he can do or the things with which he struggles. But almost any 6-9 forward who made 44.4% of 5.3 attempts from beyond the arc for a program like Duke deserves serious consideration as a first-round prospect.”"

His struggles center on his athleticism, or more accurately, his lack thereof. Yet what Hurt clearly offers is high-IQ decision-making to go along with a hard-to-guard shooting stroke. Furthermore, as reiterated here below, he’s displayed humility and a willingness to improve on his shortcomings.

Right about now, beloved veteran Joe Ingles ought to pop up in the minds of Utah Jazz followers (we’ll expound on Hurt’s similarities to Ingles and another active Jazzman here in “Reason No. 3”).

Not only did Hurt lead the ACC in scoring last season at 18.3 points per game, but he also showed a high degree of commitment and perseverance by returning to Durham in the first place. After all, he had often found himself in Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s doghouse — aka on the bench — down the stretch of his freshman year.

Hurt packed on about 20 pounds in the offseason, though, before proving as a sophomore to have the necessary strength and toughness to absorb blows in the paint against ACC bruisers. As a result, almost all of his stats underwent a significant boost.

Sure, the 2020-21 Blue Devils were a disappointment, finishing 13-11 overall and missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1995 despite five former McDonald’s All-Americans on the roster. That said, there’s no doubt Hurt was among the squad’s few bright spots; without his consistent production, there’s just no telling how depressing the season would’ve become.

Moving on…