Some leftover notes from Jerry Sloan’s banner-raising weekend:
A different direction » Before his first wife, Bobbye, died in 2004, Sloan had a vision for his post-coaching years.
Signing Bynum could help Pacers win East
I’m not a big believer in inconsistent and injury-plagued center Andrew Bynum, but Indiana signed him Saturday in a low-risk, high-reward deal that could help the Pacers win their battle with Miami for supremacy in the Eastern Conference. Bynum had been a free agent since being traded to Chicago and released on Jan. 7. Bynum also talked to Miami, sparking speculation that the Pacers signed him only to keep him away from their rival. But Indiana GM Larry Bird denied it, telling Pacers.com, “We don’t do that. We don’t have the money to throw around to bring guys in and let them sit on the bench just because somebody else wants them. I don’t know who came up with that, but that’s about the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.”
Layden sees promise in Burke
When it comes to point guards, former Jazz coach and general manager Frank Layden has an outstanding track record. During the 1980-81 season, he signed future All-Star Rickey Green out of the old Continental Basketball Association. In 1984, he used the No. 16 pick in the first round of the draft on future Hall of Famer John Stockton. So what does he think of Jazz rookie Trey Burke? “One thing he can do,” Layden said, “is take the ball wherever he wants. The object of the game is to get the ball into the paint, so you lay it up or kick it to open shooters. He can do that.”
Jimmer getting a shot in Sactown
Former BYU star Jimmer Fredette continues coming off the bench in Sacramento, but at least he’s become part of coach Mike Malone’s regular rotation. Fredette played in every one of the Kings’ 16 games in January. He averaged 12.4 minutes. Last week in Utah, he played 19 minutes, partly because starting point guard Isaiah Thomas became ill at halftime. Fredette finished with eight points and two assists against the Jazz. “I feel good about how I’ve been playing,” he said. “I wish I could play more, but that’s something you don’t worry about. You just go out and play the minutes you have and help your teammates best you can.”
It did not include basketball.
As most Jazz fans know, Sloan was a collector. His farm near McLeansboro, Ill., was filled with everything from antique cash registers to vintage John Deere tractors.
Referring to an old TV sitcom about a junkyard operator, Sloan said, "There was a different plan. We were going into the antique world. I was going to be Sanford & Son. But that road got blocked off, so we’re doing something different."
Sloan married Tammy Jessop in 2006. They own a home in Riverton, where they reside with her son, Rhett. He is a high-school senior.
"He’s a good kid," Sloan said. "He’s 17 going on 35. He does well in school. He enjoys playing sports, whether it’s football or bike riding or jumping on a trampoline. He works hard. … I’d hire him."
Familiar faces » Sloan was extremely pleased so many former players attended the festivities.
The group included John Stockton and Karl Malone, of course, as well as Memo Okur, Mark Eaton, Thurl Bailey, Bryon Russell, Howard Eisley and John Crotty.
"There’s still camaraderie there," Sloan said. "Some guys we had have gone different directions, but most guys we had were good for the Jazz and, hopefully, the Jazz were good for them. … Things didn’t always work out for everybody, but we tried to make things as cordial as possible."
When Sloan saw Crotty before a private reception in his honor on Friday afternoon, he "broke down."
Sloan explained that Crotty worked as hard as anybody to make himself a better player.
Today, Crotty lives in Miami, where he is a vice president for a global commercial real estate company. He also moonlights as a broadcaster for the Heat.
The success Crotty has enjoyed after a self-made basketball career is what makes coaching so worthwhile, Sloan said.
Hot Rod update » Among the former members of the Jazz organization who traveled to Utah to attend the festivities was legendary broadcaster Rod Hundley.
Less than two weeks ago, Hundley’s family told The Tribune he has moderate-stage Ahlzeimer’s.
The diagnosis has increased the urgency of the family’s effort to fund a statue of Hundley on the campus of his school, West Virginia University. It would be placed near one of former college teammate Jerry West.
"If we get that statue," Hundley told me in the press room at EnergySolutions Arena, "I know I’m going to cry."
Hundley’s partner, Kimberly Reardon, is leading the effort to raise the $300,000 needed to complete the project. Tax-deductible donations can be made through the West Virginia University Foundation. The family’s goal is to have the statue unveiled before the Mountaineers’ home opener next season.
‘Can’t fill his shoes’ » Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin replaced Sloan midway through the 2010-11 season.Next Page >
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