Bogut will return to play for Utes

first_imgE-mail: sor@desnews.com The pieces continue to fall into place for Utah basketball coach Ray Giacoletti.Giacoletti returned Wednesday afternoon from a whirlwind trip to Australia with the news that center Andrew Bogut has decided to return for his sophomore season in the fall.”Obviously, we’re excited to have Andrew back,” Giacoletti said. “He’s a pretty special guy.”Giacoletti actually spent more time flying to and from Australia (17 hours each way) than he did in the Land Down Under. He was in Melbourne for less than 24 hours, just enough time to meet with Bogut and his parents and discuss the big center’s future at Utah.Giacoletti said he didn’t have to twist any arms to get Bogut to return. He said Bogut had already discussed the matter with his parents and decided he wanted to play another year at Utah. Giacoletti said it was good to meet with Bogut and his family in person rather than correspond through phone calls and e-mail.At the end of spring semester earlier this month, Bogut went straight from Salt Lake to the training center for the Australian national team. He finally returned to his home in Melbourne on Saturday.”Andrew wanted to wait to talk to his parents back home before coming to a conclusion on his plans for next year,” Giacoletti said. “I really enjoyed having the chance to meet Andrew’s family face-to-face. Now with this behind us, everyone can focus on having a great summer.”While Bogut hasn’t officially made the Australian Olympic team, which has already qualified for the Games in Greece in August, he has an excellent chance, according to Giacoletti. He said Bogut is part of a 26-man squad that will be trimmed to 12 and that Australian coaches have told him they are very high on Bogut. Last summer, Bogut led the Australian under-19 team to the Junior World Championship, where he was named MVP.According to the Basketball Australia Web site, Bogut performed well in the first week of camp at the Australian Institute of Sport on May 10-14.”Young gun Andrew Bogut made a real impact last week, having gained size in his year playing college basketball in the U.S.,” the report said.Giacoletti said he’ll be thrilled to have Bogut play in the Olympics this summer.”That will be huge,” he said. “That’s a great opportunity for him, and we support him. It should be fun following him throughout the summer.”Earlier this week, Bogut sounded undecided about his plans, telling the Sydney Daily Telegraph: “I’m going to go one more year at college or Europe, I haven’t decided. I’m not ready (for the NBA) yet. I’m just looking at different options, it’s always good to look at another option and obviously the money there (in Europe), but that’s not the main reason I want to go. I want to get to the NBA, and I’ll take the best and quickest path to get there.”Apparently, that path is through Utah.The 6-foot-10, 233-pound center started every game for the Utes in 2003-04 and earned Mountain West Conference freshman of the year honors. He was also a second-team all-MWC player and ranked 15th in the nation in rebounds (9.9 per game) and 21st in field goal percentage (57.7). He also averaged 12.5 points per game and had 14 double-doubles.Earlier this spring, Marc Jackson decided to return to the Ute team after leaving following the 2002-03 season because of differences with coach Rick Majerus. Jackson had been a second-team all-MWC player that season.Besides Bogut and Jackson, the Utes will return two other starters and six lettermen from a team that went 24-9 and won the MWC tournament.Tim Drisdom has been a starter for two years and Richard Chaney started at the small forward spot this year. Other returnees include Justin Hawkins, Bryant Markson, Chris Jackson and Jonas Langvad. Also joining the team this year are point guard Jermaine Calvin from Arizona, forward Jake Schmidt from Wyoming and Luke Nevill, a 7-foot Australian who signed this spring. That gives Utah 11 scholarship players for next year and Giacoletti said unless “something crazy happens” he doesn’t plan to sign another player this spring. The Utes are allowed one more scholarship due to the NCAA’s decision to rescind the 5/8 scholarship rule earlier this spring. last_img read more

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Mike Sorensen: There’s plenty of sports to go around

first_imgWhile this is kind of a down time of year in the sports world as far as Super Bowls, U.S. Opens, Wimbledons and World Series are concerned, it seems like everything else in sports is going on right now. In our newspaper yesterday, we reported on no less than 16 different sports, including water polo and lacrosse, which got a page to itself. That’s right, lacrosse . . .So what were the other 14 sports, you ask? Baseball, soccer, women’s basketball, arena football, horse racing, tennis, cycling, hockey, golf, auto racing, professional basketball, softball, rugby and track and field. And it could be upward of 30 sports if you divide them even further, with prep tennis and pro tennis, college softball and prep softball, etc . . .Oh I forgot, next week is the Indianapolis 500, which used to be one of the big sports events of the year. But who can name a single driver in the 500 week not named Danica Patrick . . .You have to admit that the NBA playoffs have been quite exciting this year with several overtime games as well as a bunch of games decided in the final seconds. My main complaint is that Detroit and San Antonio survived possible elimination sixth games on the road and are on track for another matchup in the Finals. That’s about the time the playoffs will cease to be interesting when the Pistons and Spurs meet up for those scintillating 74-69 games. Go Mavs . . .It seemed like the NBA was doing a better job of lessening those maddeningly long gaps in the middle of playoff series this year. Then after the sixth game of the Clippers-Suns series, the NBA decided to wait four days for the deciding seventh game. What were they thinking? It couldn’t have had anything to do with TV, could it? . . .Everyone’s been talking about how tired MVP Steve Nash looks lately. So the four-day gap before tonight’s game should be a godsend and benefit him more than anyone else . . .How about those Reals winning another soccer game Saturday, this time coming from behind against one of the league’s better teams? One good thing about Major League Soccer is that a team can make a dramatic move up the standings with only a few wins, thanks to the three-points- for-a-win rule. RSL has gone from sixth to a tie for fourth in two weeks and with a couple of more wins they’ll be talking playoffs . . .Only in Arena football, could you be ahead midway through the fourth quarter and lose by 23 as the Blaze did in their first-round playoff game with Arizona. But it was still a successful first year for the Blaze, and based on the crowds, the franchise ought to be around here for a while . . .Are you excited about the NBA Lottery this week? I didn’t think so. After their bad luck last year in falling to sixth, which forced them to trade up to No. 3, the Jazz look locked into the No. 14 spot this year. Perhaps this will be the year, when there are no sure-fire stars at the top of the draft, they’ll get lucky and move into the top three. While it may not be the best year to get lucky, the Jazz would certainly be happy with a No. 3 pick over a No. 14 . . .Here’s a possible Jazz first-round pick that you’ve probably never heard of — Bradley center Patrick O’Bryant. He’s a 7-foot center with a 7-6 wingspan, who is considered a “late-bloomer.” For those who are wary about another 7-footer from the Midwest to replace stone-handed Greg Ostertag, O’Bryant is said to have “soft rebounding hands” . . . And finally, while I was kind of tickled that Barry Bonds was stuck on No. 713 for a couple of weeks, I sure didn’t enjoy having to hear about his every movement while trying to catch Babe Ruth. Once he hits 715 (hopefully soon), can we just forget about Mr. Bonds for a while? E-mail: sor@desnews.comlast_img read more

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Toughing it out — Utes limit Air Force to 13 points in second half

first_img Related The way things started Saturday afternoon, you’d never have imagined any way the Utah basketball team could eventually take a 22-point victory, even if the Utes were playing against an Air Force team picked to finish near the bottom of the Mountain West Conference standings.The Utes didn’t make a field goal until the game was nearly 8 minutes old and by halftime the Utes had more turnovers than baskets, had twice as many fouls as baskets and just one Ute had even scored a field goal.However, thanks to some stellar defense and a large dose of Johnnie Bryant, the Utes captured a 58-36 victory over the Falcons in the Mountain West opener for both schools at the Huntsman Center.Bryant scored 22 points off the bench and the Utes defense came up big in the second half in holding the Falcons to 16.7 percent shooting and just 13 total points.Saturday’s game was a perfect example of what coach Jim Boylen has been preaching all year — that the Utes can win games even when they’re struggling offensively as long as they play tough defense.”I thought we hung in there when our offense wasn’t going and our defense kept us going, which is the way we want to play,” Boylen said. “We want to be a defensive team first and let our offense come around. If this team competes defensively, we have a chance to be a good team.”This Air Force team isn’t as good as recent ones that won more than 20 games three of the last four years and were nationally ranked at times. Still, the Falcons came in with a 8-5 record and Boylen praised first-year coach Jeff Reynolds for the progress the team had made.Boylen said the Falcons “are a very difficult team to play against” and that showed in the early going as the Utes couldn’t do much against the Falcons’ tight defense.Before the game, Boylen had expressed concern with his team’s second-half starts this year. However, Saturday’s first-half start was dreadful as the Utes were 0-for-6 from the field with four turnovers and trailed 6-5 with just over 12 minutes left in the half.That’s when Bryant sank a 3-pointer from the left angle, which brought a big cheer from the crowd of 10,144.Bryant hit four more threes before the half was over and helped the Utes take a 29-23 halftime lead. While Bryant was 5-for-8 from the field in the first half, the rest of the Ute team was 0-for-6.”I was disappointed going into halftime,” said Boylen, who was particularly peeved because the Utes gave up an open 3-pointer and a layup just before the buzzer.”We talked about it and I thought we made a couple of good adjustments on the pick and roll and we were pretty solid in the second half,” he said.With Bryant on the bench to start the second half, Shaun Green hit three straight baskets, including a 3-pointer, to get the Utes off to a solid second-half start.The Utes couldn’t score for seven straight possessions and led just 38-31 midway through the second half when Luke Nevill made his only basket, on a dunk off a nice feed from Bryant.Boylen has been critical of Nevill at times this year, but praised his center, who only attempted two shots and finished with seven points and 10 rebounds.”That catch he made and that dunk was as big a play as there was in the game. I thought that got us going a little bit,” Boylen said. “Luke occupies people down there. I don’t think Luke gets enough credit for what he creates without scoring and that’s his value.”Nevill’s three-point play pushed the lead back to 10 and Tyler Kepkay and Bryant each made layups to give the Utes a 14-point lead that eventually grew to 24 by the end.”I thought we really communicated,” Boylen said. “One of the biggest problems with this team is we don’t communicate like a family needs to, to be successful. I thought today we communicated.”Beside Bryant, no other players on either team scored in double figures as Lawrence Borha and Kepkay each scored eight and Green and Nevill each chipped in seven for Utah.Andrew Henke led the Falcons with nine points off the bench, while leading scorer Tim Anderson was held to seven points on 1-of-7 from the field.Next up for the Utes is a game against Dixie State on Wednesday as they have a bye in the MWC schedule next week. Then it’s off to San Diego State for a game on Jan. 16.GAME NOTES: Nevill became the 19th player in Ute history to score 1,000 points and grab 500 rebounds in a career as he finished with seven points and 10 rebounds on the day. He now has 1,000 points and 509 rebounds … Luka Drca led the Utes in assists for the fourth straight game with five on the day as the Utes had 13 assists for their 16 baskets … Utah won the rebound battle 33 to 18 … The Utes sank 17-of-20 free throws, led by Borha’s 8-of-9. The Falcons made just 8 of 13. E-mail: sor@desnews.com Oh, Boylen! Utah coach has big daycenter_img Utah game at a glance Bryant comes off the bench to give Utes offensive punchlast_img read more

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Mike Sorensen: U. ready to unveil All-Century team

first_imgE-mail: sor@desnews.com Later this week, the University of Utah All-Century basketball team will be unveiled during halftime of the Utah-San Diego State game. The initial announcement of the 16-man team will come Tuesday afternoon.Sorry, it’s too late for you to vote, but it’s not too late for me to offer my votes for the team as one who has followed Utah basketball for nearly half a century.A committee of U. athletic department employees came up with the original list of 34 names for the ballot, and Ute fans were allowed to vote during November. To me, the 34 players can be divided into three groups.The first 10 are easy.Billy McGill, Keith Van Horn, Andre Miller, Andrew Bogut, Danny Vranes, Arnie Ferrin, Vern Gardner, who have all had their jerseys retired, are obvious choices. So are Mike Newlin, Jerry Chambers and Josh Grant.Newlin was a three-time all-WAC player who finished No. 3 all-time in scoring average and 4th in total points. Chambers had the second-best scoring average of all time at 24.6 ppg and was named MVP of the 1966 Final Four. Grant finished as the No. 3 all-time scorer with 2,000 points, was a WAC MVP and led the nation in free-throw percentage at 92 percent.Then there are a dozen players on the borderline — Tom Chambers, Jeff Judkins, Jeff Jonas, Alex Jensen, Art Bunte, Ticky Burden, Michael Doleac, Merv Jackson, Glen Smith, Mitch Smith, Mike Sojourner and Bill Kinner, of which we can only pick a half dozen.The other dozen -— Jimmy Soto, Byron Wilson, Walter Watts, Buster Matheney, Manny Hendrix, Nick Jacobson, Pace Mannion, Kelvin Upshaw, Wat Misaka, Hanno Mottola, Britton Johnsen and Dick Romney were all nice players, but to me, not worthy of the best of the best.Uh, hold on a minute. Where in the heck is Ken Gardner on these lists?Somehow Gardner, who played alongside Newlin for three years from 1968-71, was left off the 34-man ballot.Gardner was easily better than the last dozen players I mentioned and on the same level as the middle dozen. He was a 6-5 forward from Clearfield High who ended up as the fifth-best rebounder in Utah history at more than 11 boards a game. If you don’t count two-year players, Gardner was second all-time behind McGill in rebounding.Scoring-wise, Gardner was No. 10 on the all-time Ute scoring average list at 16.3 points per game. He was all-WAC three times.So how was he not included in the original 34 on the ballot?Good question.I noticed Gardner’s omission as soon as I saw the ballot back in November. Then last month I got a call from Houston from Newlin, who was outraged at Gardner’s absence. He believes his friend and former teammate is one of the top five or 10 players in Ute history, which may be a stretch, but he’s absolutely right that there’s no way he isn’t among the top 34 Utes of all time.”It’s the most egregious oversight I’ve ever seen,” said Newlin. “Ken Gardner was the toughest player I ever played against in high school, college or the pros.”I’ve heard rumors that Gardner was purposely left off the ballot because some people at the U. didn’t like him, which if true is a shame. Heck, at least one player on the list of 34 spent some years in prison, but it doesn’t diminish what he did on the court.Utah athletic director Chris Hill doesn’t believe there was any blackballing of Gardner, saying, “There’s always somebody who feels like they were left out. There are differing opinions, and that’s fair. It isn’t perfect. The committee did the best they could.”Hill pointed out that there are going to be more complaints when the final 16-man team is announced and that “it’s a tough deal.” But he said he was excited about the players being honored and to have more than 100 former Ute players returning Saturday for what should be a memorable afternoon for Ute fans.One of those former players on the Huntsman Center floor will be Ken Gardner.Although I don’t know Gardner well, I called him to see what he thought about the snub. He admitted he was very disappointed but he took the high road as far as criticizing his alma mater.”I’ll be there standing with all the rest of the players with my head held high,” he said.Since I can’t include Gardner in my top 16, who else would I have selected along with the “obvious” 10 to round out the All-Century team?I’d go with Judkins, Jonas, Jensen, Chambers, Burden and Kinner.Judkins was a three-time first-team all-league player and No. 6 all-time scorer. Jonas averaged 7.1 assists in his career, a mark that will never be broken and is the No. 2 all-time free throw shooter. Jensen was the best all-around player I’ve seen — he could score, rebound, pass and play defense. Chambers was overshadowed by Vranes his whole career but put up big numbers nevertheless. Burden was a scoring machine who might have finished 1 or 2 on the all-time scoring list if he hadn’t turned pro after his junior year. Kinner? All I know is he was an All-American for two years in the 1930s, one of the Utes’ only two-time All-Americans.I know the line has to be drawn somewhere and good arguments could also be made for players such as Bunte, Jackson and Mitch Smith. And Ken Gardner. But we never had the chance to vote for him. last_img read more

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Utah Utes basketball: Horned Frogs hand Utes another loss

first_imgE-mail: sor@desnews.com FORT WORTH, Texas — You knew as soon as Texas Christian University’s second-leading scorer, Henry Salter, was suspended indefinitely earlier in the week that Utah was in trouble for Wednesday night’s game at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.As often happens in such situations, the Horned Frogs came out and played with a purpose and took a 67-61 victory over the Utes.The loss, their third in a row, dropped the Utes (15-11) into a three-way tie for fifth place with the Horned Frogs and Air Force at 6-7.TCU coach Neil Dougherty felt his team was a little more motivated against the Utes playing without Salter, who ranks seventh in the nation in 3-point shooting (47.7 percent).”I think whether it’s an injury or a suspension and you lose someone, the natural tendency is for kids to want to try to step up,” Dougherty said. “Sometimes it works against you. But we did have some people step up with effort and a lot of people played hard tonight.”One player who stepped up and hurt the Utes was backup forward Alvardo Parker, who hit 7-of-10 shots for 14 points after coming into the game with a 5.2 scoring average.For Ute coach Jim Boylen, three main things hurt the Utes — their one-on-one defense, turnovers and free throw shooting.The Utes had a hard time guarding Parker and Kevin Langford (16 points) inside, and on the outside it was Brent Hackett, who hurt the Utes to the tune of 19 points, on 7-of-10 shooting.”They made the plays, we didn’t,” Boylen said.In the turnover department, the Utes had 16 compared to eight for the Horned Frogs, with most coming in the half-court as the Utes actually handled TCU’s press well all night.”That’s all we talked about before the game was turnovers,” Boylen said. “We had nine against them at our place and won, and had 16 tonight and lost. Lawrence Borha has five turnovers from the wing in our system and he doesn’t even handle the ball. Turnovers are big for us on the road. We have to get shots.”Then there were the free throws.The Utes came into the game leading the conference in free throw shooting at 75.3 percent and ranked 18th in the country.They were perfect until the 6:09 mark when Luke Nevill missed the front end of a one-and-one. After that, the Utes missed three more, including one by 96 percent free-throw shooter Johnnie Bryant.”The free throws under six minutes have been a problem all year,” Boylen said. “We do enough to get to the line and then don’t make them.”The Utes took control at the start, and even with Nevill on the bench with two fouls less than five minutes into the game, they seemed to be cruising, up 27-17 with 5:10 left after a Bryant 18-footer.However, the Utes couldn’t stand success — as has happened several times this year — and failed on five straight possessions and allowed the Frogs to score 10 straight. TCU took a 30-29 halftime lead on a Hackett 3-pointer with two seconds left.”We had two defensive mistakes,” Boylen said. “They make a 3, they make a 2, it goes from 10 to five and they have hope and it changes.”The Utes took their first lead of the second half at 52-50 on a pair of Luka Drca free throws with 6:42 left, but Nevill missed the front end of a one-and-one a minute later and the Frogs ran off seven straight points to take a 57-52 lead with 4:15 left.”We were hitting our foul shots all throughout the game, but when it came down to the end of the game, when it mattered most, we didn’t,” Nevill said. “We can’t really blame that on the crowd making noise or anything like that, it was just in our heads.”Drca missed 1-of-2 and, with 2:07 left, Shaun Green also missed 1-of-2, leaving the Utes down 59-56.After Parker scored on a thundering follow dunk shot, Bryant missed 1-of-2, leaving the Utes down 61-57.Nevill led the Utes with 15 points and seven rebounds, while Tyler Kepkay added 10 points.”This is where this team is at,” Boylen said. “We’ve got to get tougher, got to grow, finish things off. This is a process, as much as I don’t like it, I think we’ve got to go through this. To handle adversity and grow and learn. We’ll keep working on it, that’s all we can do.” The Utes flew home on a charter flight after the game and will get ready for another road game Saturday afternoon at Wyoming. Relatedcenter_img Utah Utes basketball game at a glancelast_img read more

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‘Perfect’ ending for Parkinson at State Amateur golf tournament

first_imgHIGHLAND — All week long, the par-5 No. 17 hole had been very good to Joe Parkinson. In three matches prior to Sunday’s finals match at the State Amateur golf tournament, he had won the hole after going in either tied or one down.He was tied again Sunday afternoon when he was faced with a 242-yard shot that needed to be threaded between a pond and a bunker. With opponent Stu Gold in trouble in the trees to the left, the smart play would have been to lay up.That’s what Parkinson’s father, Dan, who had caddied for him all week and helped with numerous shots, told him. But this time, Joe wasn’t listening to his father caddy.”No, I want this right now,” he said.Parkinson hit his 5-wood shot “perfect,” fading it in slightly over the water and it settled 15 feet from the hole.”As soon as I hit it, I knew it was good,” young Parkinson said. “That was definitely the turning point. I knew if he was 1 down, it would put a lot of pressure on him. I knew if I could get a par on the last hole, I could seal the deal.”Parkinson indeed sealed the deal with a par the last hole to take a 2-up victory over Gold in their 36-hole final at Alpine Country Club.In winning, Parkinson became the second straight 18-year-old, slightly built, BYU-bound golfer to win the State Am, following in the footsteps of 2009 winner Zac Blair.”This is awesome,” said the 5-foot-8, 139-pound Parkinson. “It feels incredible. I’ve always wanted to win this.”Parkinson nearly didn’t even get the chance to play in the State Amateur, which was switched to his home course at Alpine earlier this year when Wolf Creek Country Club had to bow out. He failed to qualify at nearby Fox Hollow Golf Course and only got in by showing up Wednesday morning and waiting for a withdrawal.He was lucky to get in as an alternate and promptly shot scores of 69 and 72 to grab the No. 9 seed. He disposed of McCoy Willey 6 and 5 in Friday’s first round, then came from behind to beat former U.S. Junior Amateur champion Scott Hailes in the second round 1 up.Then on Saturday he needed extra holes to beat medalist Robert McRae and 1998 champion Darrin Overson. In both matches Parkinson came from behind before winning on the 19th hole.In Sunday’s finals, Parkinson was matched with Stu Gold, the 24-year-old with a reputation for his colorful antics on the course. However, all throughout Sunday’s match Gold was on his best behavior and hardly made a peep all day.In the morning 18, Parkinson made a couple of early birdies to go 2 up, but the match went back to all square before Parkinson won 14 and 18 to go into the lunch break 2 up.Parkinson went 3 up for the first time with a 4-foot birdie at No. 4, but Gold hit it within three feet at No. 8 and rolled in a 10-footer at No. 10 to cut the margin to one.At this point, momentum was clearly on Gold’s side and Parkinson knew it.As they teed off on No. 11, dark clouds were forming over Utah Lake to the south and Parkinson asked an official about suspending play.”My dad saw the lightning and when he sees lightning, he’s inside,” Parkinson said. “(The officials) said they were talking about it and after I hit, they said, ‘We’re going to stop right now.’ “That clearly didn’t make Gold happy since he was on a roll at the time.”I had a lot of momentum and the weather delay kind of destroyed that,” he said. “I had won a couple of holes and was feeling good about it. He wouldn’t play. It wasn’t my decision.”The players might have been able to finish the hole, but soon there were a few nearby lightning strikes and within a half-hour rain was pouring.The rain delay, the first significant one in a State Am final since a 75-minute delay in 1992 at Hidden Valley, lasted an hour and 10 minutes and the sun was out the rest of the day.”It was nice to have that little delay and take a break to rest my legs,” said Parkinson, who sat in the Alpine CC dining room part of the time and hung out with his family. Gold went out to his car and tried to relax by listening to music.When play resumed, both players parred the next three holes, but at No. 15, Gold sank another 10-footer to even the match. Both players had chances at 16 to take the lead, but Gold missed a 6-footer after coming up short on a 25-foot putt that was up against the fringe, while Parkinson missed a 5-footer after chipping up from 35 feet.Hitting first on 17, Gold said he broke his driver on the hit, causing his drive to nearly go out of bounds to the left. Some observers thought it broke when he slammed it down after the hit, but Gold said the driver, which had been broken before, cracked on the hit.”The shaft just broke — I hit it too hard I guess,” he said. “When the driver broke, it killed me.”Gold tried to hit out of the trees but hit another tree and eventually got on the green in four. With Parkinson sitting pretty after his marvelous 5-wood shot, Gold conceded the hole.He needed to win 18 to force extra holes, but his 3-wood went right off the tee, nearly in a hazard and he conceded the hole when his long par putt missed.Gold says he is working toward the PGA Tour qualifying school in the fall but will keep his amateur status.Parkinson, who opened his LDS mission call right after the match (see related story), has a scholarship offer to play golf for BYU when he gets back in 2012.”When they said it was going to be at Alpine this year I knew I could win here,” he said. “Having the home track is probably the biggest advantage you could possibly have. Especially if you’ve played the course a thousand times like I have. It worked out really well.”e-mail: sor@desnews.com Related Mission call has to wait for State Amlast_img read more

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Ex-Ute Alex Jensen hired by Utah Jazz

first_img Related Alex is a skilled young coach, who, along with Johnnie (Bryant), will be a valuable component of our player development process. – Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin, on Alex JensenSALT LAKE CITY — Alex Jensen, a standout player for the University of Utah a little over a decade ago, is coming home to be a player development assistant for the Utah Jazz.It’s no big surprise since Jensen has been hanging around with the Jazz since last month, but the Jazz made it official Tuesday. He will work alongside another former Ute, Johnnie Bryant, “to create and implement individual skill development plans for all Jazz players.”Earlier this week the Jazz confirmed that Brad Jones was being promoted to full-time assistant coach after being assistant coach/player development.”I am excited to welcome Alex back to Utah and into the Jazz family,” said Utah coach Tyrone Corbin. “Alex is a skilled young coach, who, along with Johnnie, will be a valuable component of our player development process.”Jensen is a Bountiful native who was named Utah “Mr. Basketball” in 1994 after starring for Viewmont High School. He went to the University of Utah and played in 1994-95 before going on an LDS mission to England and for three years after, including Utah’s team that played in the NCAA Finals in 1998.He most recently served as the head coach of the NBA D-League Select Team this summer in Las Vegas, where he led his team to a 4-1 record and advanced to the quarterfinals of the summer league tournament. Before than he was the head coach of the D-League’s Canton Charge and this past year was named the Dennis Johnson Coach of the Year, as voted on by his fellow coaches.From 2007 to 2011, Jensen served as an assistant to his former college coach Rick Majerus at Saint Louis University. The late Majerus never made it a secret that “Al” was one of his favorite players he ever coached and used to say Jensen was “unselfish to a fault.”Besides playing on Utah’s NCAA runner-up team in 1998, Jensen was the Player of the Year in the Mountain West Conference in 1999-2000 when he averaged 13.1 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.Following his collegiate career, Jensen played seven professional seasons in Turkey, where he was named defender of the year in 2004 and to the All-FIBA Europe Cup first team.EMAIL: sor@desnews.com; TWITTER: sorny8 Utah Jazz: Agent Justin Zanik to be hiredlast_img read more

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Jazz shooting better thanks to Aussies’ willingness to shoot

first_imgIt’s good when the ball’s moving and guys are more than willing to give it up and pass it and make those plays. It’s a fun way to play. – Joe InglesSALT LAKE CITY — Jazz coach Quin Snyder has been trying to get his players — two in particular — to shoot the ball more when they’re open. It looks like a couple of players are finally listening to their coach, and it’s paying dividends.The Jazz won their second straight game Saturday night, in convincing fashion with a 108-73 win over the Brooklyn Nets, following up on Thursday’s close win at Milwaukee. They’ll try to make it three in a row when the Boston Celtics come to town Monday night for a 7 p.m. game at EnergySolutions Arena.Snyder encourages all of his players to shoot if they’re open, but he’s been frustrated that Australian rookies Joe Ingles and Dante Exum often pass up wide-open looks to find teammates. It’s great to share the ball, says Snyder, but it’s also nice to hit open 3-pointers.“It must be something from Down Under,’’ Snyder cracked.However, in Saturday’s win, Ingles was draining threes from all over, sinking a career-high four treys on seven attempts for a career-high 16 points. Meanwhile Exum went 3-for-5, following up on his 5-for-10 performance against Milwaukee.“Honestly, I’ve told him this — he needs to not consider whether he should shoot pensively waiting to catch it and shoot,’’ Snyder said of Ingles. “Dante too — but both of them, when they catch and shoot and don’t hesitate … are better shooters. (Joe) didn’t (hesitate) tonight. I thought he was confident, and the shots he took were good shots.’’Ingles, who is second on the team behind Gordon Hayward in assists over the past 10 games at 4.2 apg, says he tries to get his teammates involved as much as possible but is learning to look for his own shot.“I knew I could shoot it, but was trying to get the guys involved, being that kind of middle man,’’ Ingles said. “When you get every guy on the team and the coaching staff, every day telling you shoot it, shoot it, shoot it … obviously I don’t mind doing it.’’Exum says he is trying to step into his shot more, which has helped him particularly from 3-point range, where he is 8-of-15 the past two games after being just 30 percent on the season before that.“I went through a rough patch, but it’s just about going back to the court and practicing,’’ said Exum.As a team, the Jazz have gone 27-of-60 (45 percent) from 3-point range the past two games after shooting just 33.5 percent on the season before that.“Early on, we were taking a lot of good shots, but now we’ve got to the point where we’re giving up good shots and getting wide-open great shots,’’ said Ingles. “It’s good when the ball’s moving and guys are more than willing to give it up and pass it and make those plays. It’s a fun way to play.”Boston comes into the game with a similar record to the Jazz (16-28), sitting at 15-26 going into Sunday night’s game against Golden State.The Celtics have done well on the first three games of their six-game road trip, pulling out back-to-back one-point victories at Portland 90-89 Thursday night and at Denver 100-99 Friday night.The likely Celtics starters are guards Avery Bradley and Evan Turner and forwards Jay Crowder, Jared Sullinger and Brandon Bass. Second-year forward Kelly Olynyk is out with a sprained ankle, while rookie Marcus Smart was listed out Sunday for personal reasons.The Jazz continue their homestand with games against the L.A. Clippers Wednesday and Golden State Friday.MILLSAP SIGNS: The Utah Jazz announced Sunday that 6-foot-6 guard/forward Elijah Millsap has been signed to a multi-year contract.Millsap signed the first of two 10-day contracts with the Jazz on Jan. 5 and has appeared in 10 Jazz games since, averaging 5.7 points, 2.2 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.1 steals in 20.4 minutes.Per team policy, financial terms were not released.HOOD CLARIFICATION: Rodney Hood went down with his third foot injury of the year last week against San Antonio. A story about his rehabilitation in Sunday’s Deseret News said it was the third injury to his left foot. Actually, his first injury in November when he missed 10 games was inflammation of Hood’s right foot. The latter two injuries were to his left foot.last_img read more

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For busy Jack Nicklaus, it’s still all about the family

first_imgIt’s family-oriented, practice-oriented, exercise-oriented. People can get out and go walking through the hills. If they want, they can walk through the hills with their golf clubs. – Jack Nicklaus on the 12-hole course he’s designing for Red Ledges Golf Resort in HeberHEBER — For Jack Nicklaus, it’s always been about family.For years, the man known as perhaps the greatest golfer of all time has talked about his family being the top priority in his life even above his golf and business successes.“It always has been,’’ he said. “That was my goal when my kids left for school, that they’d know their dad. I made sure I got home as much as possible to be with them. I was never gone more than two weeks in all the time I played golf and traveling for anything else. So that was always my priority.’’Nicklaus was in Utah earlier this week with his wife, Barbara, to check up on the design of his latest project, an unusual 12-hole golf “park” he’s designed at the Red Ledges Golf Resort in Heber. He toured the layout with his good friend Tony Burns, the owner of Red Ledges, and came away pleased that the project is on schedule and should open next spring.Nicklaus acknowledged family “seems to be a pretty big theme in Utah’’ and has designed his latest project with families in mind.“It’s family-oriented, practice-oriented, exercise-oriented,’’ he said of his 12-hole course. “People can get out and go walking through the hills. If they want, they can walk through the hills with their golf clubs.’’So why a golf course with 12 holes instead of the traditional 9 or 18?Nicklaus said it was originally going to be a 9-hole “executive” course with a couple of par-4s mixed in with the par-3s.“My philosophy sort of kind of changed and I said ‘Why would you want to come out here to play a little par-3 course and you have two par-4 holes that force you to bring your whole golf bag when you could take maybe three or four clubs and play nine holes?’ And that’s what we changed it.’’He said it could have been any number, but he decided to break up one long hole into three and another into two, ending up with 12.It’s not the first time Nicklaus has created a course that isn’t nine or 18 holes. He also has a 12-hole course at The Bear’s Club in Florida.In an interview at the Red Ledges clubhouse, Nicklaus discussed several golf issues, including the idea of golf not changing with the times and how it’s not attracting enough younger golfers these days.He likes out-of-the-box ideas such as 12-hole golf courses that can be played in an hour and a half or even using 8- or 12-inch cups on greens, so beginners can find success and not get too frustrated.“It’s can be like what we’re doing here,’’ he said. “Don’t be so set in your ways about what the game is. People have looked at me and said, ‘Jack’s going to do eight-inch holes? Jack’s going to do 12-hole courses?’’’Nicklaus compared golf to other sports such as tennis or basketball, where people can get together to play for fun as long as they want.“What are you out for? You get guys that want to play tennis, what do you do, you go out and hit tennis balls. Sometimes you play a match, sometimes you don’t, most of the time you just go hit. You go out and shoot hoops, what do you do? Maybe you’ll play a little horse or one-on-one something like that.“But we get hung up in golf — ‘I’ve got my handicap, I’ve got to shoot this,’’’ he said. “Instead, how about, ‘Let’s go play golf for an hour and a half. How many holes are you going to play? I don’t know. However many we can get in.’ It shouldn’t be time, it shouldn’t be money, it shouldn’t be difficulty. It should be fun and as much time as you have.’’At age 75, Nicklaus no longer plays golf competitively and hasn’t for a decade. He says the only thing close to competitive golf is what he did last week when he played in a “legends” golf event in Minneapolis with Gary Player, Lee Trevino, Nancy Lopez, Annika Sorenstam and others in a scramble format.The Golden Bear says he has no plans to retire, almost acting offended at being asked such a question.“From what? Why would I retire? Go and sit on the couch?’’He certainly isn’t slowing down.His travel schedule in the days around his Utah visit included a flight from Florida to Minnesota, a stop in Los Angeles, then his visit to Utah, before he headed up to Montana for a few days where he’ll fish and attend a golf course opening. Then after going home to Florida, he and his wife are going to Buffalo to watch their grandson, Nick O’Leary, play a preseason game for the Buffalo Bills, then up to Canada and over to Cleveland for another golf outing.“I don’t mind moving around,’’ Nicklaus said.In all, Jack and Barbara have five children and 22 grandchildren and they travel around the country watching their various sporting endeavors. In fact, Nicklaus must consult a laminated master sheet that lists each of his 22 grandkids’ various sporting events so he can properly arrange his travel schedule. This fall there will be more football games, lacrosse games and volleyball games for the Nicklauses.“You can play golf anytime, do business anytime,’’ he said. “As your family continues to grow and develop, you need to be a part of what they do.’’last_img read more

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Jazz talk Christmas, Snyder returns to coach against Lakers

first_imgLOS ANGELES – With three days between their last game on Dec. 23 and Tuesday night’s game, Jazz players and coaches had time to be with their families over Christmas. Because it was difficult for players to go home for the holidays, many of the players had families come to them.“We had some family come in before Christmas, but on Christmas it was just us, which was a pretty cool experience with the girls,” said Gordon Hayward, who has two young daughters. “It was good to spend some time with family and it was a white Christmas, we got some snow, so that was cool. It was a good time off.”Rodney Hood said, “I had family come out to visit — my parents and my brother and his family, so it was good to spend time with them.”Jazz coach Quin Snyder preferred to not talk much about his holiday celebration except to offer that he put a Big Wheel together for his 4-year-old.SNYDER RETURNS TO STAPLES: The last time the Jazz played the Lakers in Los Angeles, just three weeks ago, was not a good time for Snyder.He endured a 75-minute bus ride from Santa Monica to the Staples Center, feeling worse and worse, until he couldn’t suit up, so to speak, and had assistant coach Igor Kokosov take over head coaching duties while he stayed in the locker room with a high fever.Snyder said not only was it the only time he missed a game in 20 years of coaching, but that he only missed one game as a player.“I missed a game my sophomore year (at Duke) because of a bad back,” he said.JAZZ NOTES: The Jazz have a pair of home games this week against Philadelphia Thursday and Phoenix Saturday, before embarking on a nine-day, five-game road trip back East, starting Monday at Brooklyn. … Dante Exum missed his third straight game because of knee tendinitis. … Derrick Favors, whose minutes have been limited since coming back from his knee injury, got his first start since mid-November.EMAIL: sor@deseretnews.comlast_img read more

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