Utah Jazz: Williams, Favors lead clinic for at-risk youths
And they said the Jazz don't allow headbands.
One girl wore a pink one to hold back her hair, and another had a flower tucked behind her ear. The Jazz hosted 38 at-risk local youths from the U.S. Dream Academy for an afternoon clinic Wednesday at Zions Bank Basketball Center. The children worked on basketball skills with point guard Mo Williams and forward Derrick Favors and listened to coach Tyrone Corbin talk about his own childhood, growing up in a single-parent home in the projects of Columbia, S.C.
"There's no way I could have told you back then that I would be an NBA head coach," Corbin said.
The Dream Academy is a not-for-profit organization that focuses on helping children who have an incarcerated family member develop skills that will help them be successful.
"These kids, most of them live over in the Glendale area," director Kristina Muck said, "which is the highest gang rates in the state and that whole area that no one wants to acknowledge exists. A lot of them don't realize there's life outside of that area."
Williams and Favors, along with assistant coach Brad Jones and player development assistant Johnnie Bryant, each manned a hoop as children rotated in groups to them. Favors was playful and teasing, pretending to be too sore to dunk, as the children begged him to, before giving in.
"It's a once-in-a-lifetime chance for them," said Williams, who has four children of his own, "something they can always cherish for a long time. If any of them amount to anything or do something in life, they can always say, 'I remember when I was 10, I was 11, Derrick Favors was there, Mo Williams was there, they showed me this and I got a chance to meet them.' "
Ready for season
The Jazz play their final preseason game Thursday against Portland, and they couldn't be happier about it.
The Jazz are 4-3 in the exhibition season, but that record is wiped away starting Oct. 31, when they host Dallas in the regular-season opener.
"This is what we worked all summer for since we lost to the Spurs [in the playoffs]," second-year guard Alec Burks said, "what we've been preparing for."
The Jazz this fall have debuted a more up-tempo offense, and appear to have seamlessly integrated offseason acquisitions Mo Williams, Marvin Williams and Randy Foye.
"We're deep," center Al Jefferson said. "We've got some guys all the way to the end of the bench that can play, that can start anywhere else in the NBA, in my opinion."
Visit USDreamAcademy.com to learn more about the Dream Academy or apply to be a mentor.