This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
During Thursday night's NBA draft, the Jazz front office had a piece of paper with a list attributes they were looking for in their picks. The list, which they called the "character crucible" included: toughness, grit, passionate, love of the game, unselfishness, communication ability on and off the court, competitiveness and intelligence.
They saw those in Nigel Williams-Goss of Gonzaga, and selected him with the 55th pick of the draft, Utah's last selection of the evening.
After spending his freshman and sophomore seasons at the University of Washington, Williams-Goss averaged 16.8 points, 5.0 assists and 5.1 rebounds per game in his one season with the Bulldogs. He also helped lead them to their first Final Four appearance and to the NCAA Tournament championship game.
Williams-Goss worked out for the Jazz in their last workout on Saturday.
"I am just trying to cement what people already know about me," said Williams-Goss during that workout. "I am a hard worker, I'm a leader, I'm a guy that picks up on things quickly. Just all of the things that these coaches and scouts saw during the season is what they are going to get from me."
His goal of showing the Jazz that he would play the same as he did in college paid off, and was one of the main reasons Utah saw him as an attractive late draft pick.
"We liked him and our analytics people really like him," Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey said. "What stood out out here was, besides his verbal nature and commanding leadership, was he could really move his feet ... so it was a little bit of seeing him at Washington, he had a physical profile that we liked. I didn't know the degree of how competitive he was until he got to Gonzaga."
Williams-Goss is not the first Bulldog to become a member of the Jazz, with the last being the NBA's all-time leader in assists, John Stockton.
Stockton lent a hand in convincing Utah Williams-Goss was a good pick, as did Gonzaga coach Mark Few. However, according to Lindsey those pitches weren't necessary.
"I … told [Few] he had 30 seconds," said Lindsey. "[Stockton] called [and said] 'hey look, I though he was the national player of the year. You cannot speed him up. He plays with great pace, great toughness and character. He plays like an adult.' "
.@utahjazz GM Dennis Lindsey on how John Stockton played a hand in convincing the team to draft fellow @ZagMBB great @NigelWG5 #UnitedWeZag pic.twitter.com/ajAl2cAVgP— Brennan Smith (@BrennanJSmith) June 23, 2017
Those characteristics that Stockton listed were what the team saw in Williams-Goss during the season and at the workout and ultimately landed him as a draft pick.