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NBA Free Agency: Do the Utah Jazz favor BYU players or Utah Players? Or neither?


If you are aware of NCAA sports you probably have some knowledge of Jimmer Fredette. If you are aware of NBA basketball you probably have an opinion of him. Outside of the game you may know that he is an active LDS member who went to college at Brigham Young University. For some reason people are going nuts about this young man, and have been for a few seasons. The theory is that at some stage, because of his background, he'll one day end up playing for the Utah Jazz. Which is silly. It's as silly as the theory that we'd one day bring in a 7'6 poster prop to play for our team. The Jazz, in my mind, don't play favorites. People thought that we'd go crazy for Utah PG A. Miller too back in the day. I think this regionalism is silly. We're a pro team that looks for the best talent. We're not into cheap tricks to bring people into the door.

We don't theorize that the Lakers are going to go out there to get UCLA / USC / UC Irvine players, right? They had Kareem Abdul-Jabbar once, and how many other guys since? No one is saying O.J. Mayo or Arron Afflalo are going there, or to the Clippers.

But anyway, let's actually look at all the players from BYU, Utah and the state in general, and who has played for our team.

BYU Players Utah Players
Player NBA Games Jazz Player Player NBA Games Jazz Player
1 Danny Ainge 1042 No 1 Andre Miller 1126 No
2 Shawn Bradley 832 No 2 Tom Chambers 1107 Yes
3 Jim Eakins 767 No 3 Mike Newlins 837 No
4 Mel Hutchins 437 No 4 Michael Doleac 587 No
5 Fred Roberts 818 Yes 5 Keith Van Horn 575 No
6 Greg Kite 680 No 6 Danny Vranes 510 No
7 Jeffrey Congdon 306 Utah Stars 7 Andrew Bogut 440 No
8 Craig Raymond 241 No 8 Jerry Chambers 320 No
9 Bernie Fryer 120 New Orleans 9 Bill McGill 295 No
10 Steven Kramer 124 No 10 Jeff Judkins 272 Yes
11 John Fairchild 165 No 11 Mervin Jackson 262 Utah Stars
12 Jimmer Fredette 130 No 12 Pace Mannion 216 Yes
13 Rafael Araujo 139 Yes 13 Mike Sojourner 191 No
14 Michael Smith 141 No 14 Arnie Ferrin 178 No
15 Paul Ruffner 133 No 15 Hanno Mottola 155 No
16 Devin Durrant 63 No 16 Vern Gardner 151 No
17 Brady Walker 228 No 17 Ticky Burden 134 No
18 Andy Toolson 60 Yes 18 Kelvin Upshaw 120 No
19 Travis Hansen 41 No 19 Dewitt Menyard 71 No
20 Dick Nemelka 39 No 20 Josh Grant 53 No
21 21 Deb Smith 48 No
22 22 Britton Johnsen 26 No
23 23 Fred Sheffield 22 No
24 24 Kenneth Gardner 9 Utah Stars
25 25 Greg Deane 7 Yes
26 26 Gary Bergen 6 No
27 27 Wat Misaka 3 No
Utah Jazz 3 Utah Jazz 3
Utah Stars 1 Utah Stars 2
New Orleans 1 New Orleans 0
Total Players 20 Total Players 27
Utah Jazz % 15.0% Utah Jazz % 11.1%
Full % 25.0% Full % 18.5%

Yup. I guess I was wrong, or something. A quarter of all BYU players have ties to either the Utah Jazz, the New Orleans Jazz, or the Utah Stars. Less than 1/5th of the Utah Utes players do though. As for the actual Jazz, though, only 3 guys from both colleges have played for the Jazz. Is it likely that this trend is going to continue?

I don't know, but I think it's based upon talent as a basketball player, and not anything else. That said, after watching Brandon Davies bomb us from outside in the Clippers game . . . we do need a stretch four who is cheap.

But what about players who are BORN in Utah? This is a very interesting list.

Born in Utah
Player NBA Games Jazz Player
1 Tom Chambers 1107 Yes
2 Byron Scott 1073 No
3 Fred Roberts 818 Yes
4 Danny Vranes 510 No
5 Scot Pollard 506 No
6 Devin Brown 465 Yes
7 Travis Knight 371 No
8 Jeff Judkins 272 Yes
9 Ariel Maughan 259 No
10 Brady Walker 228 No
11 Pace Mannion 216 Yes
12 Arnie Ferrin 178 No
13 Steven Kramer 124 No
14 Devin Durrant 63 No
15 Josh Grant 53 No
16 Travis Hansen 41 No
17 Britton Johnsen 26 No
18 Lance Allred 3 No
19 Wat Misaka 3 No
Utah Jazz 5
Utah Stars 0
New Orleans 0
Total Players 19
Utah Jazz % 26.3%
Full % 26.3%

We seem some repeats here before, but over 25% of people born in Utah end up playing for the Jazz. Interesting stuff for sure.

So if you are a hopeful NBA player in highschool right now who wants to play for the Jazz, you should be born in Utah and play for BYU. The odds are that one of you or your brothers will make it.

Or maybe any sample sizes that are under 50 are meaningless. Almost as meaningless as trying to put players on pro teams near their colleges -- after all that worked out great for the Charlotte Bobcats and Sean May and Raymond Felton, right?

What does it mean for all of those who have strong opinions about Jimmer joining the Jazz? Well, I honestly don't see it happening in the short term. Maybe if Jimmer transitions himself to being a Randy Foye type then he'll get a chance here when he's vet enough, and if Tyrone Corbin is still our head coach. But I wouldn't hold my breath if I was you.

Also, I know there are more than two universities in the Bee Hive State. I'm sorry if I didn't hit your alma mater. If you want, I can look them up if you hit me up in the comments section.