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Houston Rockets' Luis Scola (4) reaches around Utah Jazz's Derrick Favors during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 11, 2012, in Houston. Utah won 103-91. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
Monson: Ten things you need to know about Derrick Favors

By Gordon Monson

| The Salt Lake Tribune

First Published Apr 15 2012 04:29 pm • Last Updated Aug 05 2012 11:32 pm

There are things everyone should know about Derrick Favors, the player — more than any other — seen as the key to the Jazz’s promising future. He’s been here a year, but it seems nobody knows anything about the young cornerstone, other than that he’s immensely talented and he doesn’t get enough time on the floor. Well … here are 10 more things:

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1. He badly wants the extra minutes he’s not getting.

This was particularly frustrating for him at the beginning of the season, after he pronounced that he could be a 20-10 guy — if he got the time. But rarely have those major minutes been given him by Tyrone Corbin. The second-year forward is averaging 21 minutes a game, enough for 8.7 points and 6.5 rebounds. In eight April games, he’s gotten 25 minutes, scoring 9.6 points and hauling 9.4 boards.

The ceiling is much higher than that.

"At the beginning, because I have so much pride and confidence in my game, I was like, ‘I’m playing good, I should be playing more,’ " he says. "I didn’t say nothing to anybody, but that’s the way I was feeling. I had to deal with it."

Favors is still dealing with it, although his time, as mentioned, is slowly increasing.

"I know my opportunity’s going to come," he says. "Everywhere I go, people tell me, ‘You should be playing 30 minutes.’ I tell them my situation — I’ve got to wait my turn. I’m playing behind two guys who could have been All-Stars this year. It’s not like they’re bums or something. I’ve got to learn, work hard, be patient."

Says Corbin: "I’m trying to teach him how he can learn from watching and then go use his talents on the floor. He’s growing quite a bit — understanding how quick he is, how strong he is, how athletic he is, and how he can use all that against opponents."

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2. Favors has a fierce temper.

Some people mistakenly think, on account of the 20-year-old appearing quiet and withdrawn, that he is a big cat, lacking the fire necessary to compete at the highest level.

He calls BS on that, saying he is quiet around people he does not know, but he becomes much more animated in familiar environments. "I don’t just come out and say two words and that be it," he says. "I crack jokes, do this and that. I might not be the most talkative person, but I’m not quiet."

On the court, Favors says he’s about being strong, not timid:

"When I dunk or block a shot, I’m not going to be banging my chest and screaming, and all that. After a dunk, I run back and get on defense. The fire is there. … I’m not a showboating person. If you’re showboating, you’re weak. You don’t need to showboat. Just go out there and do the job. I just want to do my job and win games.

"People don’t know it, but I really have a quick temper. And my mom doesn’t like that. When I get mad, I can’t control myself. My grandma used to say, ‘You need to smile more, don’t look so mean.’ The slightest thing would make me mad. That’s why I talk to myself, to calm myself down. The fire is there."

3. Favors grew up on the cruel streets of Atlanta.

From an early age, basketball came naturally to him, and he looked like he would have some kind of future in the game. That potential, along with the firm guidance of his mother, Deandra, put him on a safer path toward success and avoiding the traps of the difficult environs around him.

"It was a tough neighborhood," he says. "My mom didn’t want me to get in trouble. She had a belt. She whipped me. She set me straight. She did a good job of that." As time went by, he says he developed something within that has served him well: "common sense."

The young Favors never knew his father.

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