Apr 14, 2014; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz players during the National Anthem prior to the game against the Los Angeles Lakers at EnergySolutions Arena. The Lakers won 119-104. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Utah Jazz Sign Two Former NCAA Standouts

With training camp on the calendar just weeks away, the front office of the Utah Jazz continued with their roster-building this week by adding former Mississippi State guard Dee Bost and former Notre Dame forward Jack Cooley.

Both young players will get their shot at making a talented but extremely young roster. The Utah Jazz will be the youngest team in the NBA for the 2014-15 season, with an average player age of 24.1 years old.

The grizzled veteran of the team would be Steve Novak, 31, but the second most senior is Jeremy Evans, 26, who was playing his college ball in Western Kentucky just four years ago.

For Dee Bost and Jack Cooley, being added to this team gives them a fair shot to make the roster, but is well short of guaranteed employment with the team. Here’s a look into each guy’s resume, what they bring to the table, and their odds at landing a spot with the Utah Jazz in October.

Jack Cooley (PF, 6’ 9” 246 lb) is the most recent of the two signings. The 23-year old was known for his physical style of play in the paint, despite being slightly undersized for the position. He was a slow starter for Notre Dame, not seeing much time or producing much in the way of stats until his junior season, when he started in 31 games, averaging 12.5 PPG, Cooley averaged a double-double (13.1 PPG, 10.1 RPG) in his final year with the Fighting Irish.

After going undrafted back in the 2013 NBA Draft and failing to make a roster after the Summer League, Cooley elected to sign a lucrative contract to play for Trabzonspor in Turkey. After some professional development overseas, Cooley appears ready to make another attempt at an NBA roster.

Currently the Jazz are well-stocked with big men, so Cooley will have his work cut out for him if he wants a spot.

Dee Bost (PG, 6’ 2” 176 lb) signed on with the Jazz late last week, earning a spot in the Utah training camp after a very productive season in the D-League last year. This guy is a peculiar case.

He’s been trying to break into the NBA for years. After two seasons at Mississippi State, he declared for the 2010 NBA Draft. He then withdrew his name from consideration, but failed to do so properly and was suspended 14 games by the NCAA for his error.

He stuck around for two more seasons with MSU and was eventually named to the All-SEC team his senior season.

Unselected in the 2012 NBA Draft led to a two-year career journey taking him from the Summer League, to a pro team in Montenegro, to the D-League, to a pro team in Venezuela, back to the Summer league, and now a training camp invite with the Utah Jazz.

You can’t say this kid doesn’t take every opportunity presented to him.

Last season in the D-League was his best resume builder to date. He was a D-League All-Star after averaging 15.2 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 8.4 assists per game.

He also notched five triple-doubles during his standout season. The kid can definitely play, he just needs to prove that he can do it on a big league level.

He’ll suit up in training camp alongside Rodney Hood, who was his backcourt partner at MSU for one season before Hood transferred to Duke.

Bost will ultimately end up vying for the third string point guard role. With a currently packed roster full of young talented guards, he will have stiff competition in training camp for the backup job.

Cooley is in the same boat, but he doesn’t exactly possess the wide ranging skill set that Bost does. I see Bost having real potential in the NBA, but Cooley may be too much of a tweener for any team’s liking.

Time will tell if one or both men have to return to the drawing board for the 2014-15 season.

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Tags: Dee Bost Jack Cooley Utah Jazz

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