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Wednesday, May 29
Updated: Wednesday, May 29, 11:13 AM ET
 
Wagner says he wants to play in Memphis
By Ronald Tillery
Scripps Howard News Service

MEMPHIS -- The high-volume shooter became low key when it was time to fire from the lip.

University of Memphis standout-turned-NBA-draft hopeful Dajuan Wagner used an economy of words Tuesday after filling baskets for the Grizzlies.

Is he prepared to be a point guard or an off guard in the professional ranks?

Dajuan Wagner
Ex-Memphis star Dajuan Wagner wowed the Grizzlies with his 3-point shooting.

"I just consider myself a guard,'' Wagner said moments after just his second individual NBA workout.

How was the Chicago Bulls' workout Thursday with Illinois's Frank Williams?

"It was nice,'' he said, smiling. "...It was long.''

Questions about Wagner's game and draft position may go unanswered at least until the end of next month.

Wagner, though, did not mince words on the subject of when and where he'd like to go in the June 26 draft.

With the No. 4 pick, the Memphis Grizzlies select Dajuan Wagner. For Wagner, that has a nice ring to it.

"That's what everybody wants. My family. Me. Everybody,'' Wagner said. "This is home. So it would be great to play here.''

Whether the Grizzlies can afford to or will be daring enough to add a combo guard to a lean roster remains to be seen.

Mock drafts project Wagner could go as high as No. 3 to Golden State and no lower than No. 7 to the New York Knicks.

He definitely is a lottery prospect. And Griz director of player personnel Tony Barone believes Wagner could play the point, too.

"When you look at a point guard you have to decide a couple of things. Can he run a team? He definitely can run a team,'' Barone said of Wagner. "No. 2 for me is can he defend a point? He can guard a point. The next part of it becomes the offensive mentality. Does he fit into running a team, guarding people and being a scorer? Hell yeah, why not? He can do all three. I have no doubts about the fact he can be a point. None whatsoever.''

Leon Rose, Wagner's agent, said his client would work out for at least six teams before the draft. Wagner will visit at least one other team -- likely the Knicks -- before next week's Chicago predraft camp.

Wagner held his own Tuesday in a long-range scoring exercise next to a pair of pure shooters, Predrag Savovic (Hawaii) and J.R. Bremer (St. Bonaventure). On the right wing, Wagner sank 15-of-20 three-pointers in 55 seconds.

"I started off a little tight,'' Wagner said, "but I was all right.''

Then again, the Grizzlies were well aware of Wagner's scoring ability after watching him extensively during the college season.

What impresses Barone is Wagner's strong ballhandling -- a must for undersize NBA shooting guards who are sometimes required to be floor generals.

"No one is going to take the ball away from him,'' Barone said.

Wagner has spent the past few weeks training in Chicago. He's concentrated on weight lifting and clearly looks more chiseled.

Ronald Tillery writes for The Commercial Appeal in Memphis, Tenn.



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