Brent Asay/Utah Jazz
Jazz Scrimmage Rings in the New Season
By Matt Payne
The Utah Jazz held their annual team scrimmage on Monday night. Here are a few observations—both basketball-related and not—from the meet-the-team event.
Rookie of the Night
The newest member of the Jazz, 5-year-old JP Gibson, drew the first standing ovation of the evening. JP, who has acute lymphoblastic leukemia, was signed by the team to a one-day contract and sat (in his own personalized jersey) with the Jazz players on the court as they were introduced.
Then, to kick off the team Q&A session, Jazz radio voice David Locke asked JP a few questions. It went like this:
Locke: How are you?
Locke: How many points are you going to score tonight?
Locke: Who’s your favorite player?
JP: Gordon Hayward.
JP also got to take part in the rookie dance-off alongside Danté Exum and Rodney Hood, and he went through team drills with Hayward. Then came his biggest highlight—he subbed in late for the Blue Team, dribbled the length of the court (juking Steve Novak in the process), then slammed home a Rudy Gobert-aided dunk to cap off the scrimmage.
JP and his family were hosted by the Utah Jazz and the “Anything Can Be” project (a part of the Millie’s Princess Foundation), which is dedicated to providing financial support and hope to families affected by childhood cancer.
Cereal, of Course
Locke asked new Jazz forward Trevor Booker about his much-publicized love of cereal. In case you haven’t heard, Booker likes to eat cereal. A lot. When asked for an off-the-cuff top five, these are the rankings he gave: 1. Cinnamon Toast Crunch, 2. Frosted Flakes, 3. Captain Crunch, 4. Frosted Mini-Wheats and 5. Fruit Loops.
“We’re going to do our best to play hard, play together and represent you well.”
—Jazz head coach Quin Snyder while addressing the fans and thanking them for attending the event.
“I like it a lot. One thing you’ll see out of us is that we’ll be unselfish this year. ... We’ll be playing with a lot of passes this year.”
—Hayward when he was asked about Snyder’s new system.
Novak drilled his first two 3-pointers, with his first taking a shooter’s bounce up above the shot clock before falling through the hoop. ... Alec Burks (Blue Team) and Brock Motum (White Team) each tallied a scrimmage-high seven points. ... Burks, Gobert and Jeremy Evans threw down highlight-reel dunks during the scrimmage. … The Blue Team (led by Burks, Trey Burke and Derrick Favors) topped the White Team (led by Hayward, Exum, Gobert and Enes Kanter) 30-29, in case you were wondering.
The Jazz will open preseason play when they host the Portland Trail Blazers Tuesday night at EnergySolutions Arena. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on ROOT SPORTS. You can also listen to the game on The Zone Sports Network.