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(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Former University of Utah star Alex Jensen has returned to Salt Lake City, this time as a coach. His career has taken him to the NBA and Tyrone Corbin's staff as a player development assistant. Tuesday, August 27, 2013, in Salt Lake City.
Utah Jazz: Alex Jensen calls Cavs ‘first-class’ operation
Jazz notes » Ex- coach of their D-League team credits Cleveland owner.
First Published Jan 09 2014 12:47 pm • Last Updated Jan 10 2014 11:25 pm

Alex Jensen knows the Cleveland Cavaliers, who visit EnergySolutions Arena on Friday night.

Jensen spent the last two years as the coach in Canton, which is the Cavs’ franchise in the NBA Development League. He left the Charge last summer to become a player development assistant for the Jazz.

At a glance

Jazz vs. Cavaliers

At EnergySolutions Arena

Tipoff » Friday, 7 p.m.

TV »  ROOT Sports

Radio » 97.5 FM, 1280 AM

Records » Jazz 12-25; Cavs 12-23

About the Jazz » Gordon Hayward scored the team’s final 17 points in a 112-101 win over the Thunder on Tuesday. … After some struggles, center Enes Kanter has put together three straight double-digit scoring games. … Jazz assistant Alex Jensen was the head coach of Cleveland’s D-League team, the Canton Charge, from 2011-13.

About the Cavs » Traded disgruntled center Andrew Bynum to Chicago for forward Luol Deng, who is expected to make his first appearance for his new club in Salt Lake. … Point guard Kyrie Irving is averaging 22 points and 6.1 assists a night. … Anthony Bennett, the No. 1 overall draft pick in June, is putting up just 2.5 points in 10.7 minutes a game.

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"It really is a first-class organization," Jensen said. "The owner, Dan Gilbert, makes sure you have everything you need.

"When I was there, they were obviously going through a rebuilding process. But it’s a great practice facility, great people. It’s only a matter of time before they are really good again — year in and year out."

Jensen was the D-League’s Coach of the Year last season, when he guided the Charge to 30 wins and a division championship in only their second year of operation.

Jensen again credits Snyder and the Cavs.

"Whether it was facilities or means, I had everything at my disposal," he said. "It was a great situation where you could only blame yourself if you didn’t succeed."

Jensen was born and raised in Bountiful. He attended the University of Utah and played in the 1998 NCAA championship game against Kentucky.

After college, he played seven professional seasons in Turkey and one with Yakima of the old Continental Basketball Association.

He was an assistant at St. Louis under Rick Majerus from 2007 to 2011 before taking the Canton job.

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"It was tough to leave," Jensen said. "It wasn’t something I searched out, and they were really good to me. There couldn’t be a better place for a first [head] coaching job."

Burke’s numbers decrease

Point guard Trey Burke’s numbers have dropped since being named the NBA’s Rookie of the Month in December.

Burke is averaging just nine points on 10-for-36 shooting in the last three games. He has committed 24 turnovers — one more than he did in his first 18 games of the season — in the last seven games.

"As you have success in this league — and he’s a rookie — teams find out what you like to do and they try to take those things away," coach Tyrone Corbin said. "Now you are a bigger part of the scouting report. He’s a known and they know, if he’s doing well, our team’s doing pretty good."

According to Burke, opponents are playing him "a little bit" differently as they attempt to disrupt the Jazz’s offense and, at times, force the ball out of his hands.

"I have to make adjustments ... and I think I’m getting better at it," Burke said. My shot selection, getting others involved, getting into the paint — it’s all a read, and it’s my job to make the right read."


Twitter: @sluhm

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