By: Kayla Mortellaro
PHOENIX— TJ McConnell was a scrappy, gutty, gritty player for the University of Arizona. More importantly, he was a winner.
McConnell averaged 10.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game in the 2014-2015 season at Arizona. Impressively, he led the Wildcats to an undefeated record at the McKale Center during his two seasons in Tucson.
McConnell is taking advantage of several teams bringing him in for pre-draft workouts. By the time he reached the Suns on Friday, he had already visited seven other teams.
“It’s obviously a positive thing when any team wants you to come work out,” McConnell said. “You just have to go in there and not try to do too much and play your game and that’s what I’m trying to do every workout.”
McConnell isn’t currently on mock draft boards but he knows what he wants to show teams in order to catch their attention.
“On the court, I’m just trying to show people I can shoot the ball,” McConnell said. “I didn’t really have to do that at U of A, I was so worried about getting other people the ball. I know if I make a team, teams will go under and leave me open so I have to keep defenses honest and knock down open shots and I’m working really hard to do that.”
Hard work seems to be a part of McConnell’s DNA. His hard work and preparation along with his tenacity, led the Wildcats to two straight NCAA Elite Eight appearances.
“I think TJ McConnell is the kind of guy every coach would love to have on his team,” Suns general manager Ryan McDonough said. “I think TJ is the kind of guy team’s will want to give opportunities to. He has all the intangibles, the leadership skills, he’s extremely well conditioned, his team’s won a lot of games. When you do the background on a guy like that, every coach he’s had raves about him and talks about how he’s one of the best guys they’ve ever had.”
A team might just be willing to take McConnell in the late second round of the draft and let him develop in to a solid bench player. The Suns are not in a position to gamble with their draft picks but the team could be interested in signing McConnell as an undrafted free agent.
Right now, Draftexpress.com lists McConnell as the 64th ranked player out of the top 100 prospects for the June 25, 2015 draft.