Trey Burke’s Valentine’s Day plans have been made.
The Utah Jazz’s rookie point guard is headed to New Orleans next month to take part in the Rising Stars Challenge during All-Star Weekend. Burke, the ninth pick in last year’s draft, will play with and compete against the league’s top first- and second-year players.
The game will be played Friday Feb. 14. A draft will be held on Feb. 6 to sort the 18 players into two teams.
Among those chosen were Portland point guard and former Weber State star Damian Lillard, Philadelphia’s Michael Carter-Williams, Orlando’s Victor Oladipo, Golden State’s Harrison Barnes and Washington’s Bradley Beal.
Burke, the Western Conference’s Rookie of the Month for December, is averaging 13.3 points, 5.7 assists, and 3.1 rebounds a game during his first season.
‘Jerry Sloan Day’
Gov. Gary Herbert has officially declared Jan. 31 as Jerry Sloan Day in Utah.
Sloan, the Jazz’s head coach for 23 years, is being honored by the franchise during Friday night’s game against Golden State.
In the declaration, Herbert said, the state of Utah joins in “... recognizing the enduring legacy of one of the greatest and most respected coaches in the history of the National Basketball Association.”
Herbert also recognized Sloan for his “invaluable contributions to elevating and advancing the visibility and status of professional sports, particularly basketball, not only in our state but throughout the nation.”
During Sloan’s career in Utah, he guided the Jazz to two NBA Finals, seven division championships and 19 playoff appearances. In one stretch, the team enjoyed 16 straight winning seasons.
Sloan will become the 11th individual to have a jersey raised to the rafters of EnergySolutions Arena. The number “1223” will appear on the banner, commemorating his total number of regular-season and playoff victories during his tenure as coach.
A modest win streak
The Jazz have won two straight games and, for the first time since starting the season 1-14, they are not sitting at the bottom of the Western Conference standings. The Lakers (16-30) and Kings (15-30) have worse records than Utah (16-29).
“It’s always a good thing to move up,” coach Tyrone Corbin said. “You don’t work to be last. You want to show improvement and, for us, winning games means we’re getting better.”
Corbin isn’t worried about the Jazz winning too many games and spoiling their position in the draft lottery.
“... These guys aren’t working every day to lose ball games,” he said. “We want to be as good as we can be right now and we’ll see where that ends up.”
Thunder’s Brooks to coach West
Because Kevin Durant-led Oklahoma City owns the best record in the conference, Scott Brooks will coach the West in the annual All-Star Game.
Corbin and Brooks are former teammates. They remain friends.
“I’m excited for him,” Corbin said. “Not just for that, but for the success he’s had with his team ... and for having a super player like Durant being able to step up. Their team is rallying around what he’s doing and they are responding to Scotty.”
Corbin called Brooks “... a hard-working guy — he was a hard-working player — and I’m excited for the success he’s having.”