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Utah Jazz: Big men getting extra attention

Published March 4, 2014 1:06 pm

Jazz • Favors, Kanter credit assistant Jensen for putting in extra time with them.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Washington, D.C. • As Derrick Favors attracts more defensive attention with his increasing arsenal of offensive weapons, he attributes the development at least in part to the extra attention he's getting on the practice court.

Sit courtside a few hours before tipoff and you'll see former University of Utah star and new Jazz player development coach Alex Jensen leaning into Favors as he works on his post-up moves or running Enes Kanter through pick-and-rolls and pick-and-pops.

The emphases are nothing new, but the extra time is, players say.

"Last year, I was with [assistant] coach Mike Sanders a lot and we were doing mostly the same stuff," Favors said. "But me and Alex, we be in the gym a lot more because Coach Sanders had to do more scouting reports on teams."

Jensen learned as a player and an assistant under Rick Majerus before spending the past two years as a head coach in the NBA's Development League. Last year, Jensen earned the D-League's Coach of the Year award as he led the Canton Charge.

Bringing Jensen onto the staff this season has paid dividends, Jazz coach Ty Corbin said: "Because we are so young, we have room to add a guy to make sure we pay attention to the guys we have. We have a lot of teaching to do."

"He knows the game really well," Kanter said. "He has a high basketball IQ. Every time I come to the bench, he's always telling me what I'm doing wrong, what I'm doing right. It's really helping."

Tourists

With no practice Tuesday in Washington, D.C., coaches and staff took a White House tour in the morning. The Jazz players did not attend, after arriving from Milwaukee at 4 a.m. but they did spend the afternoon visiting the U.S. Capitol.