On Wednesday my children had the opportunity of a lifetime. On Tuesday night we made the long drive from Boise to Salt Lake in order to attend the first ever Jr. Jazz Game Day Clinic. We arrived at the ESA at noon, a large gathering of kids and parents were already huddled together in the doorway of gate 5. Anxiously we waited for our turn to make it to the coveted table where we would check-in for the clinic and where the children would receive Utah Jazz shirts and tickets for that night's game against the Denver Nuggets.
It was apparent from the beginning that the Jr. Jazz's workers care about the children. They ran the clinic with professionalism and enthusiasm. During the clinic they were divided into different groups by age. They ran different drills, such as, offensive/dribbling, defensive drills, shooting clinic and others. A nice surprise was the opportunity we had to tour the locker room and the press conference room. My children and myself were in 7th heaven taking pictures in front of Rudy Gobert's, Derrick Favors', Gordon Hayward's and other Jazz players' lockers.
After we returned from the locker rooms for a second time (we were able to go with each of our children who were in different age groups) the coordinator of the Jr Jazz program, Nate Martinez came up and talked with me. Nate was incredibly nice, we had a fun time talking about the Jr Jazz, the Jazz, and players.
The clinic was just the beginning of the day for the participants of the Jr. Jazz Game Day Clinic. At 5:00 p.m. we were able to go to the early VIP entrance for the game, meaning we were able to watch the Jazz warm up before the arena opened for the game. It was such a blast watching the players shoot and run their drills. I mean who doesn't want to see Jeremy Evans draining threes, Gordon Hayward saying hello to my children, Alec Burks doing Alec Burks thangs, and Rudy Gobert jump roping! I especially loved watching their interactions with the assistant coaches and each other. My children were lucky enough to get Jeremy Evan's autograph. He was super nice to both of my children.
This tweet of mine was shown on the screens at the ESA
The kids with Jeremy Evans!! #DENatUTA pic.twitter.com/HTcfTeAHWhâ Diana (@dianaallen) April 1, 2015
As part of the Jr. Jazz Game Day Clinic my children participated in the Anthem Buddies program. The received really cool shirts, and were able to stand on the court in front of a player during the National Anthem. My son was in front of Rudy Gobert and Jack Cooley. My daughter was in front of Elijah Millsap. My daughter said that Elijah was very nice to her. He said it was nice to meet her and he hoped that he would be able to meet her again sometime. The rest of the game my daughter was cheering extra loud anytime Elijah was in the game.
@dianaallen pic.twitter.com/1p97d8kkOlâ Sean (@seanp33) April 2, 2015
Thank you Jr. Jazz for the incredible day with amazing experiences. We will definitely be signing up our children to participate in this clinic again, next year.
The game against the Nuggets was such a fun game to attend. We upgraded our free seats from the clinic so that we were row 9 behind the basket closest to the Jazz bench.It was great and exciting to be close to the action. If I had season tickets I would spend games just watching Quin Snyder. Quin Snyder is constantly engaged with a highly intense focus.
It was extremely exciting to see the differences between how the team played the last few years and how they played Wednesday night. The biggest and simplest difference I saw is that the Jazz played with purpose on both ends of the court. Playing with a purpose and playing as a team. Its night and day difference with how the team played and it made the game soooo much more fun to attend.
A quote from Trey Burke in tweet from Alex Kennedy encapsulates my emotions perfectly about how I felt attending the game.
The Jazz are feeling very confident and optimistic about their future. Check out this awesome quote from @TreyBurke: pic.twitter.com/EvL5UIdmuWâ Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) April 3, 2015
Thanks to the growth of Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors, and thanks especially to the coaching of Quin Snyder the Jazz have an identity for the first time since Jerry Sloan resigned over four years ago. Rudy Gobert has also been a major impact in the Jazz's identity and growth process.
Check out this article from Brian Schroeder of HP Basketball on Re-Evaluating the 2013 draft. Go read it! His comments on Rudy Gobert:
First, we should start with the obvious candidate: Rudy Gobert. Probably the biggest project of them all, Gobert's one of those guys who, the first time most people saw him, left you with one impression: if that guy has any idea at all how to play basketball, he could be really good. Guess what? He does, and he is. After struggling with fouls and the speed of the game in his rookie year, Gobert finally forced Utah's hand, shipping malcontent Enes Kanter to Oklahoma City and clearing the way for the gargantuan Frenchman. Since then, the Jazz have been one of the better defensive teams in the league. Since the All-Star break, Gobert is posting averages of nearly 11 points, 14 rebounds and 3 blocks per game. For the season as a whole, he's one of only 16 players to post a VORP greater than 3.5. He's 7-2 and he has the same standing reach as Wilt Chamberlain, is a tenacious rebounder in and out of his zone, is a good and willing passer and doesn't turn 23 years old until June. He went from a mysterious big man project to one of the best young players in this league, and perhaps the most untradeable sub 23 year old this side of Anthony Davis.
Orrin Hatch attended the Jazz game, Wednesday night. I saw him walk in with Dennis Lindsey and Randy Rigby. Throughout the night you could see Hatch and Rigby engaged in conversations. Moni has us covered with the interview he did on 1280.
I'm a big fan of Jerry Sloan's. I thought he was one of the greatest coaches I've ever known, plus a great human being to boot. And Quin Snyder had to come in, and even though there were interim coaches who I liked Tyrone Corbin and so forth; good guys â I have to say that I'm really impressed with our coach today.
He's doing a great job, and I understand, you know, Coach Sloan shows up to help with the team. Yeah, these are exceptional people, and for Quin Snyder to pull this team along like he has, and to â you know, we got the youngest team in the league or the second youngest team in the league. And I gotta tell you, he's got 'em working together and seems to have 'em all pretty happy now.
How about Rudy Gobert?
I love that guy. I'll tell you, you know, I'm glad to see him have this chance that he has ¦If he had a little more beef, he would shove around all those big guys inside, and he's a real protector of the rim, I'm not kidding you, and Utah Jazz have needed that for a long time.
Remember when we had that great 7-4 center, who I happen to love as a human being, and every team in the league wanted him even though they thought he was not athletic you know, tremendously athletic, but nobody came down through the center, ever, against him. And I think Gobert can be all of that and maybe even more. I think he's gonna be a, he is gonna be great. He's already great.
And of course, you look at [Derrick] Favors. My gosh, he's a horse in there. I think Favors is really, really good. And Gordon Hayward, I think the new haircut has made him even better.
Go read the rest, there is a TON more.
[Ed. Note: Hey, Diana didn't write this part, but I wanted to say that he is obviously talking about Mark Eaton here.]
Last night the Utah Jazz held their annual Leapin' Leaners and Low Tops charity event.
Leapin' Leaners & Low Tops charitable fundraiser is tonight! pic.twitter.com/jFLyZ0eBR8â Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) April 2, 2015
Leapin' Leaners & Low Tops event was fun tonight! https://t.co/0aVQrjaFc2â rudy gobert (@rudygobert27) April 3, 2015
Did any of you go? Or have any of you been ever? If so share your stories!