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updated: 5/31/2011 9:20 AM

Lloyd is Bulls' eye for talent

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  • Matt Lloyd, a 1991 graduate of Fenton High School, is in his fourth year as the Bulls' director of college scouting.

       Matt Lloyd, a 1991 graduate of Fenton High School, is in his fourth year as the Bulls' director of college scouting.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • With the June 23 NBA draft fast approaching, this is the busiest time of the year for the Bulls' Matt Lloyd.

       With the June 23 NBA draft fast approaching, this is the busiest time of the year for the Bulls' Matt Lloyd.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 

Like so many other high school basketball players, Matt Lloyd dreamed of earning an NBA paycheck.

Unlike so many others, the 1991 Fenton High School graduate realized early on that he'd never get paid for wearing a uniform.

The Itasca native quit the Bison varsity without playing a game because he needed to work multiple jobs in order to afford college.

Lloyd maintained a great relationship with then-Fenton coach Larry Schulte, though, and left him with these words on his last day of school:

"I told him thanks for everything and stuff … and the next time I talk to you, I'll be the assistant GM of an NBA team," Lloyd said. "And he said, 'Well, I hope that's the case.'"

Lloyd, 38, hasn't quite reached that level in title, but certainly in responsibility.

He's in his fourth year as the Bulls' director of college scouting, which makes this the biggest time of his year.

After crisscrossing the country during the college season to inspect hundreds of prospects, Lloyd teamed with general manager Gar Forman, executive vice president John Paxson and the rest of the Bulls brain trust to invite 48 prospects to work out at Berto Center this week.

Before getting the players on the floor, the Bulls will inspect them physically and require them to take the franchise's proprietary psychological exam.

While the Bulls already have a good idea of whom they're targeting with the 28th, 30th and 43rd picks in the draft on June 23, they'll add this week's results into their monstrous database and wind up with a draft-day list of roughly 70 players.

"I think the common person would be shocked at the amount of detailed research that goes in these picks," Lloyd said. "I think the best example of the success of the process is Taj Gibson, who was the 26th pick (in 2009).

"We had been constantly watching him over three years (at USC). Our psychological exam was unbelievable on him. Our physical testing was unbelievable on him. And everyone just liked him as a person."

Just as Gibson passed every audition to become a Bull, Lloyd had to prove himself in multiple ways in order to become the team's director of college scouting.

His elongated road began while attending UIC, when he spent four years as a video-room intern for the Bulls and the White Sox.

While today's million-dollar systems allow video coordinator Jim Sann to put together cutups in minutes, Lloyd used to run around pressing buttons on 18 VCRs in order to produce the clips Phil Jackson and his players needed.

He began working in the Bulls' PR department during the 1999-2000 season, which gave him ample time to get to know Paxson.

The then-radio analyst and Lloyd spent hours talking basketball. Lloyd also formed a lasting friendship with GM Jerry Krause, who promised Lloyd he'd make him a scout but retired before doing so.

"He said, 'You're going to be my next scout. I'm going to teach you how to do it,'" Lloyd remembered. "Then he resigned and I was really bummed because I thought that was my chance -- and it was gone."

When Paxson was named as Krause's successor, Lloyd worked up the courage to tell him of Krause's intentions.

"He's like, 'Well, I was going to hire you anyway,'" Lloyd said.

After two years of handling all of the scouting logistics from the office, Lloyd hit the road and started scouting at Forman's behest.

As Lloyd did so, he reconnected with Krause and learned the tricks of the trade.

"He and I, for the last seven years, we've gone out to lunch or dinner about five times a year to talk about scouting philosophy," Lloyd said. "He really dedicated himself and took the time to teaching me all the intricacies: where to sit, who to talk to pregame, all the little things.

"For all of Jerry's (negative) publicity, he is a heart-of-gold person. For me, it's been great. I can call him any time and we can sit and talk basketball and players for hours."

Lloyd believes he's a product of what Krause, Forman and Paxson have taught him.

"For a long time, I've been like a little brother in the office," he said. "Everyone looks out for me, for lack of a better term. But it's gotten to the point over the last four years where, I think, in many ways I've earned their respect given the volume of work I'm willing to do.

"I've gone to every backwater town in the United States the last eight years to check on every junior-college player, every directional-school player. And it's been great."

His big brothers have noticed.

"(Matt) is a tireless worker and has a good eye for talent," Forman said via email.

lwillhite@dailyherald.com

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